Public squabbling between two of the biggest console gaming companies has intensified, Kotaku reported. According to Kotaku, on a recent podcast appearance, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer blasted Sony for wanting to grow by “making Xbox smaller.”
The accusation comes after the Federal Trade Commission decided to sue to block Microsoft’s takeover of Activision because of a pattern of making recently acquired games like Starfield exclusive.
VideoGamesChronicle reported that Phil Spencer made the comments during an interview with the Second Request podcast, where the exec claimed that Sony was the “one major opposer to the [Microsoft Activision] deal.”
According to VideoGamesChronicle, Phil Spencer said: “Sony is trying to protect its dominance on the console. The way they grow is by making Xbox smaller,” Spencer said. “[Sony] has a very different view of the industry than we do. They don’t ship their games day and date on PC, they do not put their games into their subscription when they launch their games.”
VideoGamesChronicle also reported that Phil Spencer said “Sony is leading the dialogue around why the deal shouldn’t go through to protect its dominant position on console, so the thing the grab onto is Call of Duty”, Spencer told Second Request. “The largest console maker in the world raising an objection about the one franchise that we’ve said will continue to ship on the platform. It’s a deal that benefits customers through choice and access.”
Forbes reported that Xbox’s head Phil Spencer, normally an industry nice-guy, has had enough with Sony’s relentless protests to regulators over Microsoft’s attempt to purchase Activision Blizzard. These days, the gloves are coming off, and the language he’s using is as sharp as it’s ever been.
According to Forbes, the pushback to Sony’s objections is that they are transparently self-serving, and one argument Microsoft has made is to play up PlayStation’s position as market leader while downplaying Xbox’s position, including their relative lack of first party hits compared to Sony.
Forbes noted that Sony, meanwhile, very much does not want Xbox to get larger by acquiring a company with a market cap dangerously close to the entire size of Sony ($100 billion versus $70 billion). But while there’s an argument to be made about the size of the deal, it’s also pretty apparent that Sony is being obstructionist for its own sake to try and kill something that will benefit their rival and hurt them.
Personally, I don’t think anyone can know, for certain, how the FTC’s lawsuit against Microsoft will turn out. While it does appear that Sony is desperately trying to be the loudest voice against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, that doesn’t mean a court will have the same opinion as Sony does.