Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is set to defend the company’s proposed $69 billion takeover of video game maker Activision Blizzard.
The company is facing resistance from federal regulators attempting to block the deal.
Nadella and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick are both scheduled to testify before U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco.
Microsoft struck the deal 17 months ago in hopes of expanding its video game presence beyond Xbox.
It is trying to close its proposed acquisition by July 18th.
If it fails to do so, it risks having to pay $3 billion in breakup fees to Activision Blizzard or has to renegotiate new terms.
The issue has to do with concerns over Microsoft gaining a monopoly through the merger.
Concerns have also been raised that popular gaming titles would be kept exclusive to one gaming platform.
Nadella has defended that his goal is to get Activision games on as many platforms as possible.
He assured the court that Microsoft has no interest in shutting out PlayStation by making popular Activision games exclusive to its own Xbox system.
Accusing rival Sony
Microsoft also tried to accuse Sony of trying to sabotage the deal to preserve its giant lead in the console market.
Nadella said PlayStation maker Sony has defined the video game market as one focused on making premium games exclusive.
No incentive to keep exclusive
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick also testified, asserting that there’s no business incentive to deprive rivals like Sony of the popular Activision game Call of Duty, because such a move would alienate the fanbase.
Removing the game from PlayStation ”would cause serious reputational damage,” Kotick said.
He added that making a subpar version for PlayStation would bring “vitriol from gamers” and is not something Activision developers would do.
Meanwhile, Sony gaming executive Jim Ryan said he initially expressed little concern about the acquisition after private conversations with Kotick and Xbox chief Phil Spencer.
However he later changed his stance, believing that Microsoft would leverage Call of Duty’s popularity to disadvantage PlayStation, whose players might get a more “degraded experience.”
“The harm to (Sony) arises from gamers deserting our platform and going to Xbox,” said Ryan.
Commitment to Switch
Microsoft highlighted commitments it has already made to make the franchise available on Nintendo’s Switch console and a Nvidia gaming subscription service.
Microsoft pledged to provide the game to Switch for 10 years.
This should serve as evidence that the Activision deal would actually benefit consumers.