Microsoft's CEO would get rid of console exclusives if he could

Starfield guns
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Microsoft's CEO apparently isn't a fan of console exclusive games.

Yesterday on June 28, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was called to the witness stand in the Federal Trade Commission's hearing surrounding Microsoft's attempted Activision acquisition. As reported by IGN, Nadella apparently said that if it was up to him, he'd do away with console exclusive games entirely.

"If it was up to me, I would love to get rid of the entire sort of exclusives on consoles, but that's not up to me to define," Nadella said on the witness stand in court. "Especially as a low share player in the console market that the dominant player there has defined market competition using exclusives, and so that's that's the world we live in... I have no love for that world."

On one hand, it's pretty refreshing to hear a huge corporation CEO be relatively candid about a strategy to retain customers on their console. On the other hand, this is exactly what you'd expect a corporation CEO to say when they're trying to downplay having a potential monopoly on their hands via an acquisition.

Satella, and Microsoft at large, obviously have a vested interest in saying they'd be open with putting Activision games on as many platforms as possible if the acquisition closed, to better their chances of securing the deal. If the FTC thinks Microsoft will relax their control on Activision-made games after the buyout, they're more likely to let the acquisition go ahead.

This is why we've seen Microsoft sign a comical number of 10-year deals with companies over the last few months. Microsoft signed a 10-year deal to put Call of Duty on Nintendo consoles, and offered Sony the same deal for PlayStation devices. It's all to the effect of making Activision's games as readily accessible as possible, in order to appease the FTC.

Earlier this year in April, the UK government blocked Microsoft's acquisition, arguing there would effectively be reduced competition for gamers in the country should the deal proceed. 

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.