Microsoft says Activision takeover is focused on mobile, not ‘Call Of Duty’

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Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO, has reiterated that the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is more focused on mobile rather than Call Of Duty.

Back in January, Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard in a deal that was estimated to cost approximately £50billion ($68billion USD).

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The European Commission opened an “in-depth investigation” into the proposed takeover earlier this month.

“The transaction may significantly reduce competition on the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games, including multi-game subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services, and for PC operating systems,” a statement read.

“In particular, the Commission is concerned that, by acquiring Activision Blizzard, Microsoft may foreclose access to Activision Blizzard’s console and PC video games, especially to high-profile and highly successful games (so-called ‘AAA’ games) such as Call Of Duty.”

During a new interview on The Verge‘s ‘Decoder’ podcast, Spencer claimed that mobile gaming is seeing much higher growth than console or PC. Additionally, he said that Xbox has a minimal presence on mobile currently.

“Anybody who picks up their phone and decides to play a game would see that on their own,” Spencer added (via GameSpot).

As a result, he believes it’s a matter of urgency for Microsoft to gain a presence in the mobile world.

“If we’re not able to find customers on phones, on any screen that someone wants to play on, you really are going to get segmented to a niche part of gaming that running a global business will become very challenging,” Spencer explained.

Microsoft’s market share would therefore decrease as mobile gaming grows and console gaming stands still.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer speaks onstage during The Game Awards 2015 at Microsoft Theater on December 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. CREDIT: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

“It’s critical that if you’re trying to run an at-scale global gaming business that you meet your customers where they want to play, and more and more, mobile is the place people want to play,” Spencer continued.

Elsewhere in the conversation, Spencer indirectly responded to Sony’s criticism over Microsoft’s future ownership of Call Of Duty.

Activision Blizzard’s purchase has come under scrutiny over the possibility of Microsoft making Call Of Duty an Xbox-exclusive title.

However, Microsoft has promised to keep the franchise on PlayStation for three years beyond the current agreement between Activision and Sony.

While Microsoft says it will continue to launch Call Of Duty on PlayStation, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan criticised Microsoft’s three-year offer as “inadequate on many levels”.

“The idea that Activision is all about Call Of Duty on console is a construct that might get created by our console competitor,” Spencer told Decoder.

Over the summer, Spencer claimed that mobile was “the biggest gaming platform on the planet”.

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