Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick has enthused about the planned Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard in a new interview with TheWrap, claiming the move can only be a ‘good thing for the industry’ as power dynamics change. Zelnick believes that Microsoft is acting for the good of everyone, and that the acquisition will allow for more creativity in the long term.
‘We’re certainly of the belief that it’s a good thing for Microsoft and the industry,’ Zelnick said. ‘It’s a highly fragmented business and there’s plenty of room for creativity to go around. Microsoft is an ally of ours, and if this makes their business more powerful we think that’s good for us.’
According to Zelnick, the industry is ‘essentially pulling in the same direction’, and while the industry is highly competitive, it’s also focussed on working together, with relationships being buoyed by shared goals to create the best games industry, and serve the wants of consumers.
‘The entertainment business is the antithesis of a fungible commoditised business – every title stands alone, so it sort of doesn’t compete with anything else, and yet it’s highly competitive in a way,’ Zelnick said. ‘We compete with everything. In a way, we compete with nothing. You can’t replace one of our titles with another title.’
Take-Two’s stance on the upcoming Microsoft deal stands in stark contrast to the opinions of publisher Sony, which continues to fight against the acquisition. According to Sony, the deal is strictly anti-competitive, and will lead to consumers flocking to Xbox consoles in fear of exclusive content or games.
The deal is currently passing scrutiny by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which has heard testimony from Sony that Microsoft could use its newly acquired brands to wield greater power over consumers, and sway interest towards Xbox consoles.
‘The CMA is concerned that having full control over this powerful catalogue … could result in Microsoft harming consumers by impairing Sony’s – Microsoft’s closest gaming rival – ability to compete,’ the CMA claimed in early October.
Microsoft disputed this, and claimed that Sony’s lodged complaints had led to a non-critical, biased review of the upcoming Activision Blizzard acquisition.
Both companies are locked in a battle with regulators around the world, and while a recent win against Brazil’s regulatory body is a promising sign for Microsoft, Sony is continuing to argue against the deal, engaging a number of third parties to investigate alleged anti-competitive behaviour.
As the arguments continue, expect to see more publishers weigh in on proceedings, and stake a claim on either side of the fence.