Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has commented on the United Kingdom’s Competition & Markets Authority decision to block the deal to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.
Speaking to Kinda Funny, Spencer said Xbox continues to feel confident that the deal will eventually go through and that the next step is to appeal the decision. As that’s happening, Spencer said Microsoft continues to work with the European Union and the FTC to get the deal done. There are about 14 jurisdictions that Microsoft is seeking approval for, and so far, nine have approved it, Spencer said.
The CMA rejected the Microsoft deal over concerns about the cloud gaming market. Spencer, like others, said he believes the cloud gaming market is only just getting started, which makes the decision puzzling.
“The CMA decision was disappointing. We’ve been talking to that group for coming up on a year. They defined a market of cloud gaming that, in my mind, doesn’t really exist yet today. But they have a point of view that maybe we have a lead in a market that is just forming and that this content could somehow prohibit others from competing in that market,” Spencer said.
Also in the interview, Spencer doubled down on his stated belief that Microsoft does not necessarily need Activision Blizzard to deliver on its strategy, but it would help speed things up.
“Activision Blizzard King is not our strategy. But it is an accelerant for our strategy,” Spencer said.
Following the CMA’s decision on April 26, Spencer sent a memo to staff about it, in which he said Microsoft will press ahead even if the deal does not go through.
The EU will hand down its decision on the deal by May 22, while the FTC will hold its first hearing in August 2023, so it appears this case won’t be settled anytime soon.
Spencer has been making headlines lately. In addition to commenting on the CMA’s decision, Spencer reacted to Redfall’s bad reviews and said Starfield being a great game won’t help the Xbox catch up to PlayStation.