There's been a lot of talk over the past week about the CMA's investigation into Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and in Microsoft's response to the authority, we found some interesting comments about PlayStation Plus.
Basically, the document goes into detail about why Microsoft thinks the ActiBlizz deal is a good thing for the industry and isn't unfair for rivals such as Sony. When discussing subscription services specifically, Microsoft says that PS Plus could "respond competitively" to Xbox Game Pass's growth by adding more exclusive and/or newer content:
"Sony has the ability to respond competitively to Xbox adding new content to Game Pass by including more of its exclusive content into PS+ and/or making its newer content available in PS+, which to date it has declined to do despite charging a higher monthly subscription fee than Game Pass."
In another part of this section, it's pointed out that PlayStation Plus had already reached 50 million subscribers before the new tiers were launched a few months ago ("almost double the number of subscribers to Game Pass"). Ultimately, Microsoft goes on to state that it's "not plausible that the Transaction could give rise to a substantial lessening of competition in relation to multi-game subscription services".
"The Referral Decision appears to be premised on an underlying concern that the growth of multi-game subscription services is somehow bad for gamers. It fails to recognise that these services offer gamers greater choice and introduce greater competition against the traditional buy-to-play model."
"The Transaction will actually bring specific benefits to gamers by allowing Microsoft to place Activision Blizzard’s games available on Game Pass on “day and date” of release, which would not occur otherwise. The Referral Decision ignores this actual, immediate, merger-specific benefit and instead focuses on speculative harm caused by a hypothetical withholding of an asset that is not even available as an input in the market today."
The investigation continues, with the CMA not expected to reach a verdict on its Phase 2 investigation until March 2023. The UK authority has even been asking the general public for their opinions on the acquisition lately!