Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard

Well, since the PS4days COD has been getting extra exclusive content that Xbox hasn’t. They both still get the same game, but PlayStation got bonuses. (Same thing happened with Destiny, like PS getting exclusive raids).

It depends on how that was all set up. Was it a multi-game deal to do that? Or was that on a per-game basis?

And if such a deal exists, does that mean MS would be obligated to deliver COD to PS? What are the termination fees if MS breaks it?

Oh, come on, I’m not the only one around here.

It’s possible, but I’ve never heard of a multi-title exclusivity, or timed-exclusivity deal. But I’ve also never worked on an IP as big as CoD, so I don’t know. But it’s definitely not common.

And yet right before that line, MS committed to honor current contracts with Sony for games they do not yet own. How is that consistent with your statement?

We know Sony and A/B definitely had a special marketing deal with Call of Duty, which included branded ads and exclusive/timed-exclusive DLC. I guess the variables are:

  1. How long was the deal for?
  2. If the Sony/AB deal goes past the acquisition date, then how does the branded ads and exclusive DLC work?
    2a. Does it specify A/B has to offer mainline Call of Duty games on PlayStation?
    2b. If it doesn’t and Microsoft pulls those, but offers Warzone DLC/co-branding does that fulfill the deal?
    2c.What does this mean for Game Pass offerings?

In 2015, Sony paid Activision truckload of money to get COD content first on PS4, along with some exclusive PS content. It’s now the #1 COD platform, and I would assume is responsible for a very high percentage of the PS4/5’s online play.

I wonder how long the Sony/COD agreement is signed for. MS will need to honor that.

Yes, by using language like “desire” instead of “commitment”.

Sony would never make this kind of acquisition because they aren’t in a financial position to lose tens of billions by immediately devaluing a new asset in the name of exclusivity.

Activision has been in a long term co-marketing deal for CoD which both ensures new games release on PlayStation, and probably also prohibits the games from appearing on GamePass day one. It is unknown how long the deal is for, and could easily extend for a number of years into the future.

The actual language used was “confirmed our intent”, which lines up exactly with my statement. Or are we to assume he was being duplicitous?

This much is true. You can also bet your ass that if they could afford to do so, they’d spend their money on acquiring studios and publishers rather than exclusivity deals. There’s no white hat here.

Let me rephrase because I was not a precise as I should have been the first time. The first sentence used “intent”, the second sentence use the term “desire”. Neither of those terms assumes current ownership. Both speak to positions on possible future actions, and both are obviously dependent upon the sale going through. There is no legal issue here.

But in fact, we should just put all of that discussion aside - it’s irrelevant. Because in fact, there is no legal issue to begin with - companies doing mergers make announcements about future plans all the time before the merger without legal ramifications - and, indeed, they have to. They can’t wait until Day 1 of the merger to tell employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders, and regulators exactly what is going to happen. For example, companies name executives for the combined companies/operations (MS has already stated that Kotick will report to Spencer - oops, how did their lawyers let them do that!?!), companies name the location of corporate HQ’s (if a merger of equals). Other leadership posts have to be named, all the way down. Sometime the name of the company has to be changed or it has to be decided which name to use - do you think that isn’t going to be communicated until Day 1 of the merger with all the legal filings that need to be made? Employees need to told about changes to benefit plans, such as health care, retirement, etc. Often times, if there is overlap, companies will indicate their plans to divest locations, well ahead of the merger. In fact many mergers/purchases are based upon cutting redundancies, eliminating weak product lines, etc. and companies make public statements about these plans ahead of time to convince shareholders and Wall Street that the merger/purchase is a great deal. There’s tons of stuff that is announced well before any actual change in ownership is made. In fact I think it’s pretty safe to say that most major decisions are made, and many are announced, well before Day 1 of any merger.

Oh, I see. You thought you caught me in a contradiction, but when you found out that was incorrect you are simply changing your argument completely.

But my original point stands. It is in fact highly illegal for businesses to begin acting as though they have already merged prior to the actual completion of a merger, and that definitely extends to how leadership communicate their future plans. As such, you can’t point to word choice in order to conclude the opposite of what is being expressed simply because it is not sufficiently declarative.

Whats gonna happen to Sony, how can they compete? Feel so bad for Sony. I felt this way with Dreamcast too… too litle too late. can the same happen to the PS5? Is the PS5 now a waste of money to buy now that CoD is gonna be exclusive? is Last of Us and Spiderman enough to buy a Sony console? What if MS buys the talent from Naughty Dog and Santa Monica and Insomniac? Is that mean to Sony to do that?

Isn’t Sony still bigger than Microsoft when it comes to games?

They can’t sign contracts in the other company’s name, obviously, but it is absolutely standard for them to say what their plans are (and yes, that includes making “commitments” that obviously don’t have any force until completion). There may even be provisions in the merger agreement between the companies which restrict what the target can do before completion to prevent it from devaluing the merger.

I want Microsoft to buy me. I’ll sell out for 1/10th of what they paid for Activision. Just send me the check, and I’ll get started!

I’m ok with that… As long as they don’t leave money on the table by having you only on the MS store and Steam. Qt3 users have been enjoying your posts first for many years!

Exactly. The only reason they aren’t doing what Xbox are, is because they can’t afford to. That’s the only thing that’s stopped them doing to MS what MS are about to do to them.

Sony is fundamentally in a different business than Microsoft. Sony makes money by selling hardware and licensing games. Microsoft wants subscriptions and is happy to lose money for years to get them.

Remember, when Xbox came around MS was envisioning that other companies would build Xboxes and MS would just supply the OS and games. Like, MS would dictate the specs, but then you could have different electronics companies churn out their own competing Xbox machines. Except the console business doesn’t work that way because it was the razor/razor blade model of losing money selling the razor and making money on the blades. And everyone outside of MS knew this. Which is why MS ended up having to get into the hardware business.

The irony is that MS may actually be getting to that original vision in a way, because the hardware doesn’t matter if everyone is in the cloud. Which is why I can play Halo Infinite on a Macbook or an Android phone.

I sorta do think MS still makes consoles, because you still need to provide updated hardware specs for developers to target and you still need the hardcore gamer in your corner. But, again, MS is making it easy for anyone to play their games regardless of platform (except in those cases where the platform holder locks them out).

For all we know, this acquisition is kind of a huge risk. Moreso because of the expectation that Gamepass will rise in subs, the 25 million subs announced kind of surprised me as being LOW… i expected something more than 35-40 million. This tells me there might not be enough amount of games to draw people to this service and that its not as enticing as something like a Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Netflix is at 200M and it runs on everything under the sun. Until very recently Game Pass only ran on Xboxen and the streaming stuff is confusing in that neither Xbox Game Pass nor PC Game Pass includes it and there isn’t any standalone “xCloud Game Pass”, instead you need to get GP Ultimate. So the cloud streaming stuff isn’t exactly popular, it’s just a neat “hey did you know you can do that?”

It’s a huge risk. If you read the various articles, Phil is saying Microsoft is betting on gaming being a core business like Amazon shopping.