Bobby Kotick, Microsoft, and Sony clash over Activision Blizzard acquisition

Activision Blizzard CEO Kotick is accusing Sony of sabotaging the Microsoft deal, while Sony is accusing Microsoft of harassment

Bobby Kotick, Microsoft, and Sony clash over Activision Blizzard acquisition

The ongoing battle between Sony, Microsoft, and Activision Blizzard has gotten even uglier, as Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick has publicly accused Sony of sabotaging Microsoft’s planned acquisition.

Sony has continuously voiced its opposition to the planned deal, in part due to the prospect of the bestselling Call of Duty franchise becoming an Xbox exclusive in the future. While Microsoft has repeatedly denied this, they only recently offered to sign a contract pledging to maintain the franchise’s availability on PlayStation, and numerous analysts have stated that Sony’s concerns may hold some weight.

"Suddenly, Sony's entire leadership team stopped talking to anyone at Microsoft," Kotick told the Financial Times.

"I think this is all Sony just trying to sabotage the transaction. The whole idea that we are not going to support a PlayStation or that Microsoft would not support the PlayStation, [is] absurd."

Kotick also addressed the CMA’s decision to investigate the deal, accusing the body of falling in line with the FTC, which recently sued to block the deal. He stated that the CMA “seem like they’ve been co-opted by the FTC ideology, and [are] not really using independent thought, or thinking about how this transaction would positively impact the UK.”

“If I look at our hiring plans, we’re more likely to find the next 3,000 to 5,000 people that we need in the UK than almost any other country.”

Console wars

Sony is claiming that Microsoft is harassing it regarding its opposition to the merger. Microsoft has repeatedly claimed that Sony’s gaming arm dwarfs its own, and that the deal wouldn’t prevent Sony from competing should it be completed.

Axios reports that Microsoft subpoenaed PlayStation officials as part of its suit with the FTC in the hopes of proving that the deal, if completed, would have not significantly impact Sony’s business. Sony has filed a motion to quash or limit the subpoena, in which it states that “SIE and Microsoft generally agreed that SIE would produce files from seven identified custodians”, The company also states that “Microsoft’s demand for performance reviews for SIE’s leadership is obvious harassment.”

Despite claims that Kotick would step down from his role as Activision Blizzard CEO if and when the deal is finalised, sources close to the matter told Fox Business that he “will absolutely remain at the gaming giant to run the company.”

These same sources also stated that the CMA “offers companies no legal recourse such as a trial”, suggesting that its decision regarding the deal will be the most important challenge it faces.

We listed Activision Blizzard as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.


Staff Writer

Lewis Rees is a journalist, author, and escape room enthusiast based in South Wales. He got his degree in Film and Video from the University of Glamorgan. He's been a gamer all his life.