Phil Spencer recently spoke with Bloomberg about the future of Xbox. Naturally, the topic of the Microsoft -Activision Blizzard acquisition came up.
“I feel good about the progress that we’ve been making,” Spencer told Bloomberg. “But I go into the process supportive of people who maybe aren’t as close to the gaming industry asking good, hard questions about ‘what is our intent? What does this mean? If you play it out over five years, is this constricting a market? Is it growing a market?”
“I’ve never done a 70 billion-dollar deal, so I don’t know what my confidence means. I will say the discussions we’ve been having seem positive.”
The news of the Microsoft – Activision Blizzard purchase first broke earlier this year. Microsoft’s decision to buy the mega-publisher Activision for $70 million sent shockwaves through the gaming industry.
Powerful franchises such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo would become under the Microsoft and Xbox banner. With those franchises, however, comes the allegations of sexism, misogyny, and misconduct place at the Activision Blizzard studios.
Raven Software QA testers working on the Warzone franchise have fought back against issues at their publisher. They formed the Game Workers Alliance Union in January after striking against poor working conditions. Spencer has commented a couple of times regarding unionization that has come up during the Microsoft – Activision Blizzard acquisition.
“I’ve never run an organization that has unions in it, but what I can say in working through this is we recognize workers’ needs to feel safe and heard and compensated fairly in order to do great work,” he mentions to Bloomberg. “We definitely see a need to support the workers in the outcomes that they want to have.”
Phil Spencer stated in May that he would support the Raven Software union. “Linda Norman and I have been spending a lot of time educating myself on unions,” said Spencer. “We absolutely support employees’ right to organize and form unions. Once the deal [for the Microsoft – Activision Blizzard acquisition] closes, we would absolutely support employees’ organization that’s in place. We think it is a right of employees and something that can be a part of a relationship between a company and people who work at the company.”
Spencer also addresses what this acquisition means for the competition. Recently, major gaming publishers commented on Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. While most seemed confident in their ability to succeed, Sony expressed concerns. The company feels like no one can compete with a franchise like Call of Duty.
To address these concerns, Spencer tells Bloomberg that Call of Duty will be available on PlayStation for “at least some period of time.” Making major franchises like Call of Duty exclusive for just one console “is something we’re just going to see less and less of,” he continues.
“We really love to be able to bring more players in reducing friction, making people feel safe, secure when they’re playing, allowing them to find their friends, play with their friends, regardless of what device — I think in the long run that is good for this industry. And maybe in the short run, there’s some people in some companies that don’t love it. But I think as we get over the hump and see where this industry can continue to grow, it proves out to be true.”
As for the future of Xbox, once the Microsoft – Activision Blizzard deal is completed, Phil Spencer has an idea of what’s next. “I’m always thinking about things that add to our capability. Even though we’ve worked on our geographic expansion, I’d still say we have too many of our creators in places that are our traditional markets.”
While there is no set date for the official approval of the Microsoft – Activision Blizzard acquisition, one country has already approved it. The General Authority for Competition in Audi Arabia approved the deal on Sunday.