Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella usually doesn’t make too many comments on the company’s Xbox or PC gaming businesses. However, he made a few interesting comments during Wednesday’s court testimony as Microsoft continues to fight with the US Federal Trade Commission over Microsoft’s plan to buy Activision Blizzard.
One of the FTC’s sticking points is that Microsoft could make major game franchises like Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty games exclusive to the Xbox on consoles, keeping them away from Sony’s PlayStation console. According to The Verge, Nadella was asked in his court appearance about Microsoft’s own Xbox exclusives. He had a somewhat surprising response:
If it was up to me I would love to get rid of the entire exclusives on consoles, but that’s not for me to define especially as a low share player in the console market. The dominant player there [Sony] has defined market competition using exclusives, so that’s the world we live in. I have no love for that world.
Microsoft has pledged to continue to offer Call of Duty games to Sony’s PlayStation platform if it purchases Activision Blizzard. The company said it would be adversely affected if it decided to pull the series from PlayStation players.
Ironically, in earlier recorded testimony, Sony PlayStation head Jim Ryan was asked if it was in Microsoft’s best interest to release Activision Blizzard games on “multiple platforms”. Ryan responded with, “No, I don’t agree with that.” However, he refused to answer if he would keep Activision Blizzard games exclusive to Xbox if he was running the division instead of Nadella or Xbox head Phil Spencer.
Microsoft bought ZeniMax Studios in 2021, and since then it has made the decision to launch two all-new games from that division as Xbox console exclusives, Redfall, and the upcoming Starfield. It has also recently confirmed that the upcoming Indiana Jones game, which is likely years away, will be an Xbox exclusive as well.