As Microsoft faces deeper scrutiny from regulators over its nearly $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, one party seems to enjoy poking its ribs at every turn, Sony.
Every time a new regulatory action is mentioned, Sony is quick to file a joint complaint. That is, they are concerned about Microsoft taking control of Call of Duty, one of the biggest IPs in gaming, although their arguments are somewhat muddled, given their own history of exclusivity and exclusive content.
Sony just released a new statement on the news that the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will look into the acquisition further:
“By giving Microsoft control of Activision games such as Call of Duty, this deal will have significant negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry,” Sony said in a statement. GamesIndustry.biz. “We want to ensure that PlayStation players continue to enjoy a high-quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting players.”
At this point, Microsoft seems to be visibly upset by Sony’s protests, with Phil Spencer saying that Microsoft signed a deal with Sony for additional years to keep Call of Duty on the platform (a deal that Sony’s Jim Ryan says isn’t good enough), And they swore up and down that Call of Duty wouldn’t go anywhere on PlayStation, even if Microsoft offered a tempting alternative by launching it on Xbox Game Pass.
You can sense their frustration in their new statement, in response to Sony:
“It makes no sense for Microsoft to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation given its console market position.”
It has long been the theory that Microsoft will likely treat Call of Duty like its acquisition of Minecraft, and leave the franchise in existence, and make a profit, on all platforms, even a competitor like PlayStation. As a publisher, that means Sony pays Microsoft directly, after all.
but do Can Putting forward the argument that if PlayStation was a “market leader”, why wouldn’t Microsoft launch Starfield there? This is a new IP, I guess, but will Microsoft release future DOOM games, Wolfenstein games, and Elder Scrolls games on PlayStation, the market leader? So far, it looks like we’re only talking about Call of Duty and Can Other Blizzard games like Overwatch and Diablo. So Microsoft is guilty of being a little tricky here too.
Sony’s complaints are just…it doesn’t resonate, though. It’s hard to allow them to be that grumbling when they’ve been dominating the console sales space for a generation and a half now, and to believe that Call of Duty in and of itself is somehow a hit or a smash game for them, when the series has more third-party competition in it. Ever since, plus Microsoft has mentioned fifty different ways to stay on PlayStation indefinitely.
I don’t think either side is completely blameless in all of these, but it’s particularly hard to take Sony’s arguments about Call of Duty seriously, and I understand why Microsoft is so upset about their response, which is very clearly a service I don’t know how you can see. any other way. Ultimately, I doubt they will fail the deal, and we’ll see if Microsoft gets their word out in the coming years.