Sony agreed with the UK regulator that the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard should be investigated more carefully as Microsoft's control of Activision's games will ultimately affect gamers and the gaming industry in a negative way.
In early September, the UK regulator, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), released a document revealing its decision regarding the first phase of its investigation of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard where it stated that it was concerned about the deal as the merger "could impact competition in several ways."
At the time, the CMA noted that Microsoft could use its control of games like Call of Duty to hurt its competitors and suggested that the investigation should be extended. The regulator gave Microsoft five days to present evidence in favor of the fact that the competition in the market and consumers will not be affected in any way by the deal – otherwise, the investigation might move into the second phase.
A recent report from Financial Times states that Microsoft declined to supply any evidence as, according to the outlet's sources, the company believed there were no undertakings it could offer that the CMA would likely accept, which is why the UK regulator is set to start the second phase of the investigation this week.
Being Xbox's major rival, Sony responded to the CMA's decision to start an "in-depth" investigation saying that it "welcomes the announcement." The company agreed with the UK regulator that the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard should be investigated more carefully because, as Sony stated, Microsoft's control of Activision's games will ultimately affect gamers as well as the gaming industry as a whole in a negative way.
"By giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry," Sony said in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, "We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting gamers."
Sony previously already expressed its concern that Microsoft might remove the Call of Duty series from PlayStation noting that no other product can be a competitor to Call of Duty and arguing that the franchise is so popular that it "influences users' console choice."
Microsoft, meanwhile, has repeatedly assured both fans and Sony that it doesn't plan to make Call of Duty the Xbox exclusive. According to PlayStation boss Jim Ryan, Microsoft indeed made a proposal to keep Call of Duty a little longer than it was initially planned.
However, Ryan said that Microsoft promised to keep the game on the platform for just three years beyond the current Activision and Sony agreement and noted that the company's offer was "inadequate on many levels" as it "undermines" Sony's intent to "guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality Call of Duty experience."
Microsoft later responded to Sony's recent comment regarding the CMA's investigation saying that it was generally unprofitable for Xbox from a business point of view to remove Call of Duty games from PlayStation consoles, given their "market leading console position."