500 public comments to AMC on Microsoft-Activision deal were abusive or unintelligible

Gamers had their first opportunity to comment on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard during a public consultation with the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

So how did they fare outside of the gaming bubble? With abuse and inintelligence of course.

According to the CMA, she received around 2,600 emails, of which around 500 “contained abusive content (with no other substantial content), or were blank, unintelligible, claimed to be from non-UK consumers, or not in English”.

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The remaining 2100 were split with three quarters in favor of the deal, one quarter against, and a negligible number not taking a clear position on the merger (thanks,

This represents around 75% of respondents supporting the deal, which is a blow to Sony’s vocal opposition to the merger.

The CMA summarized the reasons cited by respondents for supporting or opposing the merger. Among those who supported the merger, arguments included:

  • Sony and Nintendo are stronger than Microsoft in console gaming, and the merger will help Microsoft compete with them more closely;
  • The merger will not harm competing consoles as Microsoft has made public and private commitments to keep Activision content, including Call of Duty, non-exclusive. The availability of Minecraft on competing consoles shows that Microsoft’s business strategy is not to make games exclusive;
  • Microsoft is unlikely to make Call of Duty exclusive due to its multiplayer nature. Making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox would only create a void in the market that could be filled by a rival cross-platform shooter;
  • The merger is a reaction to Sony’s business model for PlayStation, which historically involved securing exclusive content or early access to popular cross-platform game franchises, such as Final Fantasy and Silent Hill;
  • Microsoft’s plans to add Call of Duty to Game Pass are pro-competitive and will lower the price of accessing games for consumers.

Meanwhile, arguments against the merger included:

  • Microsoft is already dominant in PC operating systems, and this merger is an attempt to gain a similar position in games;
  • The merger would lead to consolidation and set a harmful precedent in the gaming industry of acquiring large publishers rather than encouraging organic growth;
  • Microsoft will make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox, just as it did with Bethesda after the ZeniMax Media acquisition;
  • Microsoft can capture the multi-game subscription market after the merger because it can afford to add games to Game Pass at a loss;
  • Microsoft is already dominant in cloud gaming, and the merger could affect the future of new entrants into this space.

The CMA will now consider those comments, as well as pursue its own investigations, before issuing its final report before the statutory deadline of March 1, 2023.

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