Microsoft has responded to a list of concerns about its ongoing $68 billion bid to purchase Activision Blizzard, as raised by the UK''s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and has discovered a similar statistic.
Microsoft claims that every COD player on PlayStation might transfer to Xbox, and that Sony''s playerbase would remain "significantly larger" than its own as a result of continuing questions about whether Microsoft owning Call of Duty would unfairly hobble PlayStation.
Microsoft does not disclose the whole thing about its mental arithmetic here, but notes that the PlayStation console is currently with a 150 million user base, comparable to Xbox''s 63.7 million users.
This statement is part of a range of comments made to Eurogamer''s sister site GamesIndustry.biz as a result of the CMA''s latest report, which otherwise mostly expresses many of the same concerns already raised by the UK regulator - and others around the globe.
The CMA''s latest intervention will not come as a surprise for those following the case, as it is the next step on the regulator''s recent strategy for how and when it will weigh in with its final judgment. This month, the CMA''s "issues statement" - and it appears that this document has now been publicly addressed.
The main topics are covered - about the possibility for the agreement to harm competitors if Microsoft acquires too much of an advantage with Activision Blizzard franchises (mainly Call of Duty) and thus being able to leverage their brand power to become a dominant market leader in the console industry and cloud streaming.
The CMA believes that the deal might harm Sony but also other streaming services such as Google (perhaps a hidden point now), Amazon, and Nvidia.
"Having complete control over this powerful catalogue, owing to Microsoft''s already strong gaming consoles, operating systems, and cloud infrastructure, might stifle Microsoft''s closest gaming competitor''s ability to compete," the CMA said, "as well as that of other existing competitors and potential new entrants who might otherwise enhance healthy competition through innovative multi-game subscriptions and cloud gaming services."
Microsoft said that "unsupported harm theories" would not be enough to justify the CMA''s actual Phase 2 investigation, which was launched on the 1st September.
"The suggestion that the incumbent market leader, with clear and lasting market power, might be overlooked by the third largest provider as a result of losing access to one title isn''t credible," Microsoft tells GamesIndustry.biz.
"While Sony may not consider increased competition, it has the ability to adapt and compete. Gamers will ultimately benefit from this increased competition and choice.
"If any consumer decides to switch from a gaming platform that does not give them a choice on how to pay for new games (PlayStation) to one that does (Xbox), then this is the sort of consumer switching behavior that the CMA should consider welfare enhancing and effective encourage. It is not something that the CMA should be attempting to avoid.
The CMA will notify Microsoft in January 2023, at the time being, to seek solutions to any sticking issues. The regulator''s final report - and overall ruling - will then be published at the start of March next year.