Xbox boss reveals Call of Duty wasn’t main reason behind Activision deal

Brianna Reeves
xbox Activision dealActivision Blizzard

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer claims Call of Duty did not count as the main motivating factor behind Microsoft’s Activision deal.

Microsoft announced its intention of buying out Activision Blizzard earlier this year in January, a deal that totals nearly $70 billion.

Despite regulators such as America’s Federal Trade Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority investigating the agreement, Microsoft believes the acquisition will be finalized by the end of the 2023 fiscal year.

Such a historic purchase raises myriad questions, of course. Chief among them is why Microsoft would take the leap, especially amid ongoing troubles related to abuse allegations leveled against Activision Blizzard.

What’s the main reason for Xbox’s Activision purchasing deal?

In an interview with Bloomberg, Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed some of the thinking behind the Activision takeover.

Notably, the publisher’s flagship Call of Duty franchise did not receive mention. Spencer instead said mobile and PC gaming sat at the forefront of Microsoft’s decision to pursue Activision Blizzard.

The Microsoft Gaming CEO noted the following, in part:

“The biggest gaming platform on the planet is mobile phones. One and a half billion people play on mobile phones. And I guess, regretfully as Microsoft, it’s not a place where we have a native platform. As gaming, coming from console and PC, we don’t have a lot of creative capability that has built hit mobile games.

“…we really started the discussions – internally at least – on Activision Blizzard around the capability they had on mobile, and then PC with Blizzard. Those are the two things that were really driving our interest.”

Talk of the Xbox and Activision deal begins around the 6:50 mark in the video below:

It’s possible Spencer and Co. want to minimize the significance of Call of Duty to the acquisition, given concerns about how the brand’s first-party ownership could impact competition.

In response to questions from Brazil’s regulatory body, as relayed by ResetEra’s Idas, Sony called Xbox’s attempt to acquire Activision anti-competitive. Sony, reportedly, supported its argument by noting that COD’s popularity influences the console-buying habits of consumers.

Still, Microsoft’s interest in mobile gaming, in particular, is nothing to scoff at. A report from the start of the year claimed users spent more than $116 billion on mobile games alone in 2021.

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