As part of its research regarding Microsoft’s potential acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, the UK’s regulatory body, the CMA asked a number of studios for opinions on the deal, with it today publishing responses from six studios in favour of it.
4J Studios is the only one of the six to be named, while the others all remain anonymous, some with vague descriptors of their source and others without.
Why 4J Studios is the only named studio however is not that much of a surprise, when considering that 4J Studios have worked on the console versions of Minecraft going all the way back to the Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 until now.
It argued that this acquisition is just “a natural evolution of the industry and it does not give us any cause for concern for our own future opportunities.”
Each of the studios different reasons for being in-support, or not exactly against the merger, all vary.
One studio which is only described as a business that “primarily focused on releasing video games for various gaming platforms, including both Xbox and PlayStation,” talks about how it has seen better sales on Xbox due to how the Microsoft Store operates on the console.
It cites how Microsoft provides more opportunities to get its games in front of players, while on the PlayStation Store, “you are 100% reliant on players knowing about your game already, and searching for it on the store.”
That same studio goes on to say it only sees the acquisition as a “positive,” with Activision Blizzard games on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass brings more hardware sales, more subscribers, and a larger player base for developers to sell to.
Another studio doesn’t exactly say it is for the merger, more that it doesn’t see how the merger would effect its business.
One studio says that it believes that the arguments brought against the acquisition are “exaggerated and out of proportion.” It continued,
“We are worried that actual real competition and more innovative consumer friendly initiatives, could be potentially hindered by blocking this, by potential market leaders/competitors, who might not be ready or might not believe in a different strategy, or just not compelled to change their status quo on the market.”
The same studio then also went on to cite that Microsoft may be able to create a better environment than Activision Blizzard has been able to on its own, saying that “Microsoft might be good for some of our colleague’s working in the studios on the various projects.”
Another studio, described as “an independent developer having worked with most of the top game publishers including Sony, Microsoft and Activision” argued that if Microsoft doesn’t buy Activision Blizzard, Tencent might try to, having already purchased stock in Activision Blizzard.
This same studio also calls industry consolidation “inevitable” with the rise of cloud gaming, and says that though it might look like this merger gives Microsoft the advantage right now, further consolidation is likely to make this point mute, and “does not necessarily constitute SLCs.”
Finally, the last studio simply believes “that any title can be considered a ‘must have’ in the interactive entertainment market,” echoing what Microsoft itself is already saying, that Call Of Duty isn’t as important as Sony makes it out to be.
Again, not necessarily for the merger, rather just saying that it wouldn’t have a negative impact on consumers, specifically.
Of course it’s up to the CMA if it will listen to any of these opinions, all sent in from different studios, some specifying that it was the studio head or CEO speaking, others not saying who it is at all.
In the CMA’s provisional findings, it concluded that the acquisition would lead to less competition, not more. Whether or not that opinion stays before its final decision is meant to come, is still to be seen.
Source – [UK CMA]