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Please help us move out of 3rd place! Those bastards at Sony & Nintendo

Oh lord, please help Microsoft fight back against Putin and the overlords that control computer gaming.

I have a dream! That every adolescent can spend all day staring at his computer screen. That players of every race, creed and color can unite against a common virtual enemy. Black men, white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.

Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard Acquisition Is Good for Gamers

Far from harming competition, it’ll allow us to compete against more powerful companies through innovation.

By Brad Smith, Microsoft CEO, WSJ

Dec. 5, 2022 1:24 pm ET

Expo in Los Angeles, June 13, 2018.

The Federal Trade Commission reportedly plans to sue Microsoft to stop our proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. That would be a huge mistake. It would hurt competition, consumers and thousands of game developers.

Microsoft faces huge challenges in the gaming industry. Our Xbox remains in third place in console gaming, stuck behind Sony’s dominant PlayStation and the Nintendo Switch. We have no meaningful presence in the mobile game industry. That segment of gaming generates the most revenue and is the fastest-growing, but a significant portion of the revenue goes to Google and Apple through their app-store fees.

Acquiring Activision Blizzard would enable Microsoft to compete against these companies through innovation that would benefit consumers. While modern consumers can stream videos or music on multiple devices on low-cost subscription plans, many games can often only be individually purchased and downloaded onto one device. Microsoft wants to change that by offering consumers the option to subscribe to a cloud gaming service that lets them stream a variety of games on multiple devices for one reasonable fee. It would also benefit developers by allowing them to reach a much broader audience.

To get subscribers to this service, Microsoft needs a full library of popular games and, as things stand, we simply don’t have enough. That’s where the acquisition comes in. Activision Blizzard comes with popular mobile, PC and console games, including “Candy Crush,” “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty.”

Sony has emerged as the loudest objector. It’s as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix. The main supposed potential anticompetitive risk Sony raises is that Microsoft would stop making “Call of Duty” available on the PlayStation. But that would be economically irrational. A vital part of Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty” revenue comes from PlayStation game sales. Given the popularity of cross-play, it would also be disastrous to the “Call of Duty” franchise and Xbox itself, alienating millions of gamers.

That’s why we’ve offered Sony a 10-year contract to make each new “Call of Duty” release available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox. We’re open to providing the same commitment to other platforms and making it legally enforceable by regulators in the U.S., U.K. and European Union. Microsoft made a similar commitment to the European Commission when we acquired LinkedIn in 2016, ensuring access to key technologies for competing services.

Some regulators worry that any big-tech acquisition will harm consumers and workers. But Microsoft committed in February to govern its new cloud-based game store by the pro-competition principles outlined in the app-store legislation pending in Congress. And in May we negotiated a precedent-setting agreement with the Communications Workers of America allowing workers to organize easily at studios, including Activision Blizzard.

Blocking our acquisition would make the gaming industry less competitive and gamers worse off. Think about how much better it is to stream a movie from your couch than drive to Blockbuster. We want to bring the same sort of innovation to the videogame industry.

Mr. Smith is vice chair and president of Microsoft.

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