Microsoft and Team Xbox are set for more talks this week in relation to the company's ongoing attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard - this time with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority. Ahead of those talks, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has been in discussion with UK outlet The Times about the deal.
In the interview, Spencer reveals that he contacted Sony's chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida about the acquisition back in January of 2021, which apparently led to a "very cordial" chat. Nevertheless, Sony ultimately ended up opposing the acquisition, and various regulators are also now concerned about how it could harm the industry.
The Xbox boss still can't wrap his head around some of these concerns:
"I don’t have great rationale for … how better competition in consoles is somehow hurtful for consumers."
In the interview, Spencer goes on to point out that having Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo all doing well in the console market with their own strengths and unique qualities gives consumers more choice. He also mentions that he'd hate to see a scenario like the phone market where there are "only two manufacturers", stating that there are "three good competitors" in the console market right now.
The "strategic angle" around the acquisition, according to Spencer, is to improve Microsoft's presence in mobile gaming, rather than anything to do with PlayStation's involvement with Call of Duty.
Another thing he highlights is that for many of the regulators involved in the Activision Blizzard acquisition, it appears to be the first time they've properly looked at the gaming industry. He says he's appreciated the ability to spend time with them and even help educate them in some circumstances.
Finally though, what happens if the deal doesn't go through? Well, you'll be glad to know that Xbox's future isn't relying on it according to Phil Spencer - he says it's not a "linchpin" for the long-term viability of the brand:
"This is an important acquisition for us. It’s not some linchpin to the long term — Xbox will exist if this deal doesn’t go through.
So, there you go! The saga continues, with Spencer reportedly in London this week ahead of those talks with the CMA. We'll have to wait and see if we get any further details over the next few days...