Xbox boss Phil Spencer took the stand Friday during Microsoft’s ongoing court battle with the US Federal Trade Commission over the tech giant’s intended acquisition of game publisher Activision Blizzard. Spencer revealed some interesting things about Microsoft’s business practices and made allegations about PlayStation maker Sony’s moves as a rival purveyor of gaming consoles.
Spencer testified that Microsoft is currently in third place behind Sony and Nintendo in the console wars, according to a report from The Verge. He also said, under oath, that if the acquisition went through, he wouldn’t pull or degrade Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty games on the PlayStation platform.
“I would raise my hand, I would do whatever it takes,” Spencer said in court. “My commitment is, and my testimony is, that we will continue to ship future versions of Call of Duty on Sony’s PlayStation 5.”
The popular military-themed first-person shooter is one of the key components of this court battle as Microsoft is looking to complete its deal of acquiring Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The FTC contends the acquisition would create a lack of competition in the video game industry.
During his testimony, Spencer made allegations about Sony’s moves as a competitor. He alleged that Sony spends its revenue on trying to reduce the Xbox’s place in the market, including signing third-party companies to prevent their games from being released on the Xbox. Spencer said Sony held back on sending developer kits to Microsoft for the PS5, leading to a delay in the release of Minecraft for the console, and to a version of the game that wasn’t optimized.
Sony didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Spencer’s remarks.
The court battle between Microsoft and the FTC comes more than a year after the Xbox maker announced its decision to purchase Activision Blizzard. Since then, Microsoft has sought approval for the acquisition from antitrust regulators in the different countries in which the company does business. The biggest hurdles for the company are the UK and US, with agencies in both countries blocking the deal and citing concerns over a lack of competition in the video game industry.
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