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What does the standard launch of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II mean for Microsoft Activision takeover offer | science and technology news

What does the standard launch of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare II mean for Microsoft Activision takeover offer | science and technology news

Call Of Duty (CoD) has always been a giant of the video game industry – and the latest release proves that point is like never before.

This week, less than two weeks after its launch at the end of October, Modern Warfare II was confirmed to have surpassed an astounding $1 billion in sales worldwide — a 10-day record for the nearly 20-year-old franchise.

But while Modern Warfare II has always been likely to be a hit, the sheer scale of its earnings comes at an interesting time. Microsoft’s bid to buy the company behind it for a record $68.7 billion.

What is considered the largest ever acquisition in the tech industry has attracted huge interest from the world’s acquisition regulators, with Both UK and US observers are putting it under the microscope.

And last week, publisher Activision announced the historic success of Modern Warfare II, and the European Union joined in by launching its own investigation.

What are regulators studying?

Regulators in the UK, US and EU are essentially looking at the same thing, and that whether Microsoft owns Activision – and, by extension, games like CoD – will give it an unfair advantage over its competitors.

The European Commission said this week: “The point is to ensure that the gaming ecosystem remains vibrant for the benefit of users in a rapidly evolving sector. We must ensure that opportunities remain for current and future distributors of PC and video game consoles, as well as for competing suppliers of PC operating systems.”

The main opponent of the deal is Sony, which makes the PlayStation. It is concerned that CoD may become exclusive to the Microsoft Xbox platform, and has made regulators well aware of its cause.

CoD is a big deal for Sony – Modern Warfare II, for example, was the best-selling game in the UK in October (despite launching just three days earlier) and 57% of sales were on PlayStation.

How did Microsoft respond?

Microsoft has promised to keep CoD on PlayStation “at least for several more years” beyond its current contract.

Sony, as the industry leader, said it was concerned about CoD, but we said we were committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation.

But Sony seems skeptical in the long run – and the idea of ​​a console maker like Microsoft releasing games on other platforms is rare. Acquisition of Bethesda for $7.5 billion It will see the popular Elder Scrolls series discontinued from PlayStation, becoming a major draw for the Netflix Xbox Game Pass-style subscription service.

Michael Butcher, game industry analyst from Wedbush Securities, told Sky News that CoD is really different — and the massive demand for Modern Warfare II proves it.

“The purchase price is meaningless if Microsoft plans to make CoD an Xbox exclusive,” he said.

“If I did, annual sales of CoD would drop by as much as 50%.”

Microsoft's Xbox Series X game consoles (black) and S series (white) are displayed at a SK Telecom flagship store in Seoul, November 10, 2020 (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo by JUNG) YEON-JE / AFP via Getty Images )
picture:
Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S consoles lag behind PlayStation 5 in sales

what happened after that?

The news of another media takeover after pulling the rug out this month has some wondering if the same could happen to Microsoft. Penguin Random House was looking to buy Simon & Schuster for $2.18 billion (£ 1.9 billion), but two years after it was announced It was overturned by a US judge on the grounds of competition.

Mr. Pachter doesn’t expect Microsoft to hit the same thing, but an olive branch may be needed – in the form of a legally binding agreement not to let CoD go the Elder Scrolls way.

“Microsoft expected this to form the basis for the regulatory review, and has proactively committed to making Activision games available for other consoles after the merger is complete,” he told Sky News.

“This commitment is not legally binding, so it is wise for the regulators to insist that it is. The regulators’ comments make them claim victory when they secure a legally binding commitment from Microsoft to continue supporting PlayStation and other consoles.”



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