Microsoft has responded to the CMA’s provisional findings, confirming that Xbox Game Pass prices would not increase to reflect the addition of Call of Duty following the merger with Activision Blizzard.
After investigating Microsoft’s merger with Activision Blizzard, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority’s provisional conclusion has raised concerns that the deal “could harm UK gamers.” One of the concerns raised is the potential for Xbox Game Pass prices to increase following the addition of Call of Duty to the service, but Microsoft has now denied that would happen, calling it “counter-productive.”
Microsoft says “Game Pass prices will not increase as a result of the merger”
Microsoft has replied to the CMA’s provisional findings before the regulator makes a firm decision on April 26th. One of the points raised was the potential for subscription prices to increase if Call of Duty was one of the games coming to Game Pass; a concern that Microsoft has now shut down. As stated by Microsoft, by adding Call of Duty to Game Pass it would actually offer subscriptions at a “lower quality-adjusted price” due to the increase in the output of Game Pass, as seen with the acquisition of ZeniMax.
“This is especially so given that Game Pass users are price sensitive and an increase in the price of Game Pass would affect all users,” Microsoft says. “Including those that do not value or play CoD.” Due to Call of Duty’s current yearly release model, any increase in Game Pass subscription prices “would be short-lived” because users can cancel their subscription at any time after a month of play. “As such any price increase would be counter-productive as it would increase subscriber churn rates,” Microsoft concludes.
The Competitions and Markets Authority has until April 26th to make a final decision on the merger.
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