Microsoft The US tech giant wants to create more competition among game publishers, CEO Satya Nadella says, as it faces an anti-competitive investigation over its $69 billion buyout bid. Activision Blizzard.
Activision Blizzard, the US games publisher behind popular franchises like Call of Duty, Warcraft and Candy Crush, could boost Microsoft’s presence in mobile games where it’s been largely absent.
But the proposed acquisition faces an investigation from the European Union as regulators fear Microsoft could block access to Activision’s console and PC video games, especially globally successful games like Call of Duty.
“Our whole goal is to give players more options so they can play [on every platform] Publishers have more competition,” Nadella, Microsoft chairman and CEO, told Tanvir Gill in an interview with CNBC on Thursday.
Microsoft is very much in the console and PC video game business, providing access to hundreds of games via its Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass video game subscription services.
If the Activision Blizzard deal completes, it could help Microsoft better compete with the likes of game publishers Tencent, known for its globally successful mobile game Honor of Kings, and Sony, which is building its PlayStation mobile game console and has acquired two mobile game developers.
“Like all big deals, I think regulators should scrutinize them,” Nadella added when asked how he felt about the EU realization.
In July, Microsoft said its fiscal fourth-quarter gaming revenue fell 7%, as Xbox sales fell, and lower engagement and monetization affected content and services sales, although it was partially offset by growth in Xbox Game Pass subscriptions.
When asked about Microsoft’s ultimate ambition in gaming, Nadella said: “Microsoft is not a conglomerate, I want to be very clear. It’s not about some kind of gaming here and productivity here.”
“The premise for us is: What is the underlying technology that we’re building that allows us to be in these different businesses while doing things that are of value to customers? What can Microsoft do uniquely for gamers and game publishers? I think there’s a lot more we can do.” .
“With games, for example, for us, it’s a streaming workload. It helps us build the right cloud infrastructure. Think about AI, these AI-generated models, differently and how they can be used in both building and testing games.” Nadella said.
When asked what the next step would be if the Activision Blizzard deal didn’t go through, Nadella said, “We’ve been playing for decades. We’re going to keep playing.”