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Forums - Microsoft Discussion - Xbox Empire - Xbox Games Showcase & Starfield Direct on June 11th | Starfield Launches on September 6th, 2023

I'm so fucking confused, how does this make any sense? Cloud Gaming is for people who don't buy expensive consoles, what the hell are they talking about? Lmao. 

How can you harm consumers by giving them something which isn't even currently available as well? CoD isn't in Cloud Gaming right now in any form, under Xbox it will be, thus giving consumers more options.

Looks like they're still ignoring Nintendo as well.

53. We are concerned about the impact that these exclusivity strategies could have on competition between gaming consoles. Given that PlayStation is Xbox's closest rival, we provisionally believe a strategy that makes it a less effective competitor would harm overall competition in gaming consoles.

What? So Xbox getting closer to Sony is anti-competitive? How does that make any sense? Lmao.

46. Second, the large majority of our survey respondents (ie, CoD gamers as described above) indicated that the content available on a console is important to their choice of console, and around 24% of them said they would divert away from PlayStation if CoD were no longer available on that platform

24% seems like nothing compared to how much Sony is kicking Xbox's ass...

47. Third, even CoD gamers who would remain on PlayStation could be harmed by the reduction in choice in that console. They would also likely spend less time and money on PlayStation than they did before, which the evidence suggests would have a material impact on PlayStation's revenue and ability to compete.

Why would they spend less time and money if it was still available on PlayStation?



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OK, with the info that we have so far, this would be the summary (looking forward to the long version of the PF during the day or tomorrow):

Provisional findings from the CMA:

- Short version
- Summary
- Long version not available yet
- Press release

The merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in:

A) console gaming in the UK due to vertical effects resulting from input foreclosure; and

B) cloud gaming services in the UK due to vertical effects resulting from input foreclosure.

Possible remedies:

1) Requiring a partial divestiture of Activision Blizzard:

a) Divestiture of the business associated with Call of Duty;

b) Divestiture of the Activision segment of Activision Blizzard, which would include the business associated with Call of Duty;

c) Divestiture of the Activision segment and the Blizzard segment (the Blizzard segment) of Activision Blizzard, Inc., which would include the business associated with Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, among other titles.

2) Prohibition of the merger.

3) Access remedies will be considered:


18. Microsoft has, however, informed us of existing and potential contractual arrangements with third-party platforms relating to access to Call of Duty. Accordingly, while none of the circumstances in which the CMA would select a behavioural remedy as the primary source of remedial action in a merger investigation (as summarised in paragraph 15 above) appear to be present, the CMA will also consider a behavioural access remedy as a possible remedy.

19. Access remedies are a form of behavioural remedy which seek to maintain or restore competition by enabling competitors to have access on appropriate terms to the products and facilities of a merger entity that they require to remain competitive. Access remedies normally require an access commitment which is set out in significant detail so that both customers and monitoring agencies can enforce compliance effectively. In this case, an access remedy would look to ensure third party access to Activision Blizzard, Inc's content that is necessary to remedy the provisional SLCs.

44. As noted above, the circumstances in which the CMA might select a behavioural remedy as the primary source of remedial action are not present in this case. The two markets in which the CMA has provisionally found SLCs are multi-faceted and continue to develop. This is particularly the case in cloud gaming, where the customer offerings and business models of market participants are evolving rapidly. We are of the initial view that any behavioural remedy in this case is likely to present material effectiveness risks. We invite the Parties to provide evidence on how these risks could be appropriately managed to ensure that any behavioural remedy is effective.


Next steps

MS/ABK and interested parties have until 17:00 UK time on 22 February to respond to the remedies notice.

---

I still feel this is just a formality and they'll only accept structural remedies, I don't buy that they have any serious intention of considering behavioural remedies, I suppose we'll see. If CMA is serious about accepting a behavioural remedy (again, I doubt it) but if they are, maybe Microsoft just increases it to 20 years or something.

We'll also see how much Microsoft wants Blizzard/King vs CoD/Activision and if Microsoft can even find a buyer for CoD + Activision and not only find one who can afford it but one that won't also run into regulatory scrutiny. If Microsoft can find a buyer for Activision/CoD then there is at least a chance they'd accept a structural remedy (or at least, I hope) but I think there's like 5% chance of Microsoft accepting a structural remedy.

Tbh I'm not sure if it's hopium but a lot seem more positive than I am on the basis that it isn't an outright block and they leave the door open for remedies (structural and behavioural) but again, I feel like the behavioural comment could just be a formality. Either way, it seems like Microsoft isn't backing down since it isn't an outright block so we have a while to go yet, Lol.



Ryuu96 said:

What? So Xbox getting closer to Sony is anti-competitive? How does that make any sense? Lmao.

You shouldn't be understanding this like this. Xbox being more competitive doesn't mean better competition in this context:

- Xbox getting closer to Sony by selling their console at 100$ would also be anti-competitive for eg, even if "it's MS's decision to lose money, and beneficial for the consumer"

- Xbox getting closer to Sony by buying the biggest third party company making the Playstation less attractive can be considered as anti-competitive, because you don't "play by the rules" of how competition works



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Microsoft still believes behavioural remedies could address the CMA's concerns, though. "We are committed to offering effective and easily enforceable solutions that address the CMA's concerns," says Rima Alaily, Microsoft CVP and deputy general counsel, in a statement to The Verge. "Our commitment to grant long term 100 percent equal access to  Call of Duty to Sony, Nintendo, Steam and others preserves the deal's benefits to gamers and developers and increases competition in the market."

The Verge

Good Luck, Lol.

Hopefully the Starfield Direct is announced soon



So the FTC suing to stop it, the EU sending them a list of concerns to be addressed and now the CMA's provisional response. If this deal goes through without heavy compromises, if at all, it'd be a miracle for Xbox. Xbox really need this deal to go through.



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I wonder when this deal fails if MS will even bother with anymore acquisitions. :/

Least it will be over and we can see all the 3rd party deals Sony has made.



Zippy6 said:

So the FTC suing to stop it, the EU sending them a list of concerns to be addressed and now the CMA's provisional response. If this deal goes through without heavy compromises, if at all, it'd be a miracle for Xbox. Xbox really need this deal to go through.

Technically, FTC hasn't yet sued to block it, they need to do that through a federal court but they've not done that yet (despite having the ability to do so) because they know they'd lose fairly easily, instead they're employing delay tactics so that other regulators kill the deal (I.E. CMA) and it seems like it may actually work, clever bastards, although an abuse of their power, Lol.

EU's SO was expected as it's the next step in talking remedies and the general consensus was that EU won't approve it without remedies, an EU spokesperson said in relation to the ABK deal as well that deals are very very likely to pass EU with behavioural remedies, there is a very strong chance that it will pass in EU with the offered remedies (10 year CoD, etc).

CMA is definitely an issue though and basically what everyone was saying is proving to be true, the entire deal hinges on CMA, it doesn't matter what EU/FTC decide as Microsoft can fight that, CMA has next to no oversight and complete power, Microsoft can't take them to court, they can only appeal a decision and have it sent back to...CMA, Lol.

Things definitely look dire for the deal, unless of course we believe that CMA is actually serious about considering behavioural remedies, in which case, the 10 year offer might work if Microsoft shows them how it will work, but the issue is that CMA rarely accepts behavioural remedies and has outright expressed before that they don't like them so I'm not sure I believe CMA's comment about being open to behavioural remedies.

If it comes down to structural remedies then Activision + CoD will have to go and I don't see Microsoft going for that, so I think it's dead as I don't believe the CMA is serious about accepting behavioural remedies even if they say they're open to it but maybe I'm just too pessimistic on all things UK, Lol.

Even IF Microsoft was okay with structural remedies.

  • They'd have to find someone who actually wants to buy Activision + CoD.
  • They'd have to find someone who could actually afford it.
  • They'd have to find someone who won't also run into regulatory scrutiny.

I'd assume that would rule out Tencent (and Sony, obviously). I think Amazon would be borderline due to their Luna business if CoD is deemed too important for Cloud services as well. Google likely won't be interested. Take-Two/EA likely couldn't afford it which is sad because they'd be my ideal option. Maybe Apple could be a possibility but regulators are down their throat lately and them having CoD mobile further increases their iOS store power which regulators are clamping down on lately.

It's such a headache and they have two weeks to figure it out, Lol.

Deal is f*cked, Imo.



Ryuu96 said:

YouTube

Does anyone else see every post in this thread after this one in all bold characters?  I'm set at 50 posts per page.



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kenjab said:
Ryuu96 said:

YouTube

Does anyone else see every post in this thread after this one in all bold characters?  I'm set at 50 posts per page.

Not me



Spade said:

I wonder when this deal fails if MS will even bother with anymore acquisitions. :/

Least it will be over and we can see all the 3rd party deals Sony has made.

I'm confident that they will but I don't think they'll attempt another major publisher acquisition, a console publisher, I do think they may still try to find a major mobile developer as that is an area they are particularly interested in and a main reason for the ABK deal, it is also clear that regulators don't give a shit about them acquiring King (or Blizzard) at all.

Mobile and PC are areas they still need significant work in, I think they have console mostly covered once their XGS + Bethesda start releasing the big guns, losing CoD does hurt Game Pass potential though and nothing can really replace that but eh, they came up with Game Pass before ABK even crossed their minds, ABK was largely about mobile (and simply a good business opportunity).

I think they'll target individual developers and a major mobile developer, I don't know who, I also think they still need to do work in PC.

Few key factors though.

  • When this deal was made, Gaming was exploding due to the pandemic and having cash in the bank was a bad idea because interest rates were shit.

  • Politics have changed which Microsoft didn't expect, if ABK is blocked solely due to CoD and little legal merit, they are unlikely to bother with anyone else who has a huge IP under their belt, if regulators successfully block this then they'll see Microsoft as weakened and do it again.

  • AI is the new, next craze, Microsoft is investing massively into it, it's no longer about Gaming which was the craze during the pandemic, Microsoft has moved their interests largely now to battling Google in AI, I think they're going to move a significant amount of investment there.

I do wonder if this is a battle bigger than Xbox for Microsoft, if they can't acquire someone in an industry they're being pounded in then where can they? Might be why they're fighting it so hard, they don't want to be seen as someone who rolls over easy to regulators because they'll take advantage of that on Microsoft's next big acquisition.

Anyway, as I said, I think they'll still seek a mobile developer but I think as far as the console business goes, Satya will probably tell Xbox to make do with what they already have outside of a few individual studio acquisitions.