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PlayStation boss Jim Ryan ‘flew to Brussels’ to voice concerns to EU over Xbox’s Activision deal


PlayStation boss Jim Ryan reportedly flew to Brussels last month to meet with European Union regulators currently scrutinising Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

According to Dealreporter sources (paywalled), the Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO personally visited the EU headquarters on September 8 to voice the console rival’s concerns over the proposed $68.7 billion deal.

As has been widely publicised in recent weeks, PlayStation’s concerns over the deal are around the future release arrangements for the Call of Duty series – which is regularly PlayStation’s annual best-seller – and whether it will be pulled from their platforms.

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Google is also said to have voiced its concerns to EU regulators, according to the same sources.

Last month, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Microsoft had committed to making Call of Duty available on PlayStation for “several more years” after Sony’s current marketing deal with Activision expires.

However, SIE CEO Ryan, who is reportedly seeking access to future Call of Duty games on equal terms and in perpetuity, responded publicly by calling Microsoft’s proposal for keeping the series on PlayStation consoles “inadequate on many levels”.

Later the same month, Sony welcomed to the news that the UK competition regulator has launched an in-depth probe of Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal.

“By giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry,” it claimed.

“We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting gamers.”

The current Call of Duty deal between Sony and Activision is believed to cover this year’s Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2, and a new game from Black Ops developer Treyarch, which may not arrive until 2024.

PlayStation boss Jim Ryan ‘flew to Brussels’ to voice concerns to EU over Xbox’s Activision deal

The latest report comes after Microsoft officially filed its case for its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard with the European Commission.

In a filing on Friday, the European competition watchdog confirmed it has set a provisional deadline of November 8 to clear the $68.7 billion deal or choose to enter a second, more detailed investigation phase.

Over the coming weeks the European Commission will analyse the deal during what’s called a ‘phase I’ review.