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Microsoft wants more competition amongst game publishers

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Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., throughout the company’s Ignite Highlight event in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. Nadella gave a keynote speech at an event hosted by the corporate’s Korean unit.

SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says the American tech giant desires to create more competition amongst game publishers, because it faces an anticompetition probe over its $69 billion offer to purchase Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard, the American game publisher behind popular franchises resembling Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Candy Crush, could boost Microsoft’s mobile gaming presence where it is basically absent.

However the proposed takeover faces a European Union probe as regulators worry Microsoft may foreclose access to Activision’s console and PC video games, especially globally successful games like Call of Duty.

“Our entire goal is to bring more options for gamers to have the ability to play [on every platform] and for publishers to have more competition,” Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, told CNBC’s Tanvir Gill in an interview Thursday.

Microsoft has largely been within the console and PC video game businesses, offering access to a whole bunch of games via their video game subscription services Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.

If accomplished, the Activision Blizzard deal could help Microsoft higher compete with the likes of game publishers Tencent, known for the globally successful mobile game Honor of Kings, and Sony, which is organising a PlayStation mobile gaming unit and has acquired two mobile game developers.

“Like all large deals, I feel regulators should scrutinize them,” Nadella added, when asked how he feels in regards to the EU probe.

In July, Microsoft said its fiscal fourth-quarter gaming revenue declined 7%, as Xbox sales dropped and lower engagement and monetization hit content and services sales, though partly offset by growth in Xbox Game Pass subscriptions.

When asked about what Microsoft’s ultimate ambition is within the gaming business, Nadella said: “Microsoft is not a conglomerate, I would like to be very clear. It isn’t about form of gaming here and productivity here.”

“The elemental thesis for us is: what’s the core technology that we construct, that enables us to be in these different businesses while doing things which can be helpful for purchasers? What can Microsoft uniquely do for gamers and game publishers? I feel there may be plenty we will do,” he added.

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“With gaming, for instance, for us, it is a streaming workload. It helps us construct the fitting cloud infrastructure. Take into consideration artificial intelligence, these AI-generated models, otherwise and the way they will be utilized in each creation and testing of games,” said Nadella.

When asked in regards to the next step if the Activision Blizzard deal doesn’t occur, Nadella said: “We’ve got been in gaming for many years. We will probably be in gaming going forward.”

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