“Xbox has lost the console wars” says Microsoft

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Defending its proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has said, “Xbox has lost the console wars,” and its rivals will “continue to dominate.”


One of the central arguments that such entities as the US’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have made against Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard merger is that it would make the company too powerful and prevent healthy competition.

Microsoft, according to a court document published by The Verge and shared by Kotaku, argues the opposite. The way Microsoft sees it, the firm’s rivals – namely Nintendo and Sony – “are positioned to continue to dominate, including by leveraging exclusive content.”

More dramatically, Microsoft writes that “Xbox has lost the console wars”, and points out that its Xbox consoles have been consistently outsold by Sony and Nintendo’s platforms over each successive generation.

“Xbox has consistently ranked third in consoles behind PlayStation and Nintendo,” the document reads. “In 2001, Microsoft entered the gaming industry with the launch of its first Xbox game console, in competition with the established incumbents Sony and Nintendo. In that ‘generation’, Sony and Nintendo outsold Xbox by a significant margin. With every succeeding generation over the twenty years since, Sony, Nintendo and Xbox have remained the three major console producers, and have been engaged in what the industry refers to as the ‘console wars’.”

The document has emerged as part of a court hearing between the FTC and Microsoft, with the former seeking to block the latter from acquiring Activision Blizzard. The FTC has already argued that the exclusivity of such games as Starfield and Redfall is “powerful evidence” that the deal should be prevented from going ahead.

Other stories that have emerged from the case include the revelation that Bethesda’s Indiana Jones game will no longer be a multiplatform release, and is instead an Xbox and PC exclusive.  Then there’s PlayStation boss Jim Ryan’s suggestion that, if Activision Blizzard were owned by Microsoft, it would turn Acti into a direct competitor, meaning Sony would no longer share dev kits and technical information that would allow it to, say, make a Call of Duty game for a future console like the PS6.

As you can probably tell, it’s all getting rather heated – albeit in a slightly stiff, legal-speak way.

Microsoft has until 18 July to complete its deal; if it isn’t sorted out by then, the company will reportedly have to pay a $3 billion termination fee.

Read more: Blocked: Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal. What happens now?

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