500 public comments to the CMA on the Microsoft Activision deal were offensive or incomprehensible

A public consultation with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority gave gamers their first opportunity to comment on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

So how have they behaved outside of the gaming bubble? With abuse and unintelligence, of course.

According to the CMA, it received around 2,600 emails, of which around 500 “contained abusive content (with no other substantive content) or were blank, incomprehensible, purportedly from consumers outside the UK, or were not in English”.

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The remaining 2100 were split with three quarters in favor of the deal, one quarter against and a negligible number not taking a clear stance on the merger (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz).

That adds up to around 75 percent of respondents supporting the deal, a blow to Sony’s staunch opposition to the merger.

The CMA summarized the reasons given by respondents to support or oppose the merger. Arguments supporting the merger included:

  • Sony and Nintendo are stronger than Microsoft in console gaming, and the merger will help Microsoft compete more strongly against them;
  • The merger won’t hurt competing consoles, as Microsoft has publicly and privately pledged not to keep Activision content, including Call of Duty, exclusive. The availability of Minecraft on competing consoles shows that Microsoft’s commercial strategy is not to make games exclusive;
  • It’s unlikely that Microsoft would make Call of Duty exclusive due to its multiplayer nature. Making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox would only create a niche in the market that could be filled by a competing cross-platform shooter game;
  • The merger comes in response to Sony’s business model for PlayStation, which has historically included securing exclusive content or early access to popular cross-platform game franchises like Final Fantasy and Silent Hill;
  • Microsoft’s plans to add Call of Duty to Game Pass are pro-competitive and will lower the price of consumer access to games.

Arguments against the merger, meanwhile, included:

  • Microsoft is already dominant in PC operating systems and this merger is an attempt to achieve a similar position in gaming.
  • The merger would lead to consolidation and set a damaging precedent in the gaming industry by acquiring major publishers rather than encouraging organic growth;
  • Microsoft will make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox, just like Bethesda did after acquiring ZeniMax Media;
  • Microsoft can capture the multi-game subscription market post-merger because it can afford to add games to Game Pass at a loss;
  • Microsoft is already dominant in cloud gaming, and the merger could impact the future of new entrants in the space.

The CMA will now consider this feedback and continue its own investigation before releasing its final report by the statutory deadline of March 1, 2023.

Download at: https://www.eurogamer.net/500-public-comments-to-the-cma-on-microsoft-activision-deal-were-abusive-or-unintelligible

Fry Electronics Team

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