Microsoft has spoken out against Sony’s claims that its ongoing bid to acquire Activision Blizzard would be anti-competitive, particularly when it comes to Call of Duty.
Last month, Sony told Brazilian regulator CADE, which is investigating the acquisition, that the acquisition could entice gamers to switch from PlayStation to Xbox.
At the time, he claimed, “Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ console choice, and its community of loyal users is deep enough that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product , he would not be able to compete with him.
Now, according to the ResetEra member IdasMicrosoft responded to CADE with a lengthy response dismissing Sony’s claims.
As Idas reports, Microsoft said, “Unsurprisingly, Sony was the only third party to convey a significantly different public opinion from MS/ABK and third parties regarding the transaction’s competitive analysis.
Microsoft claimed that Sony doesn’t want to see Call of Duty games on Game Pass on day one because it “can’t get over having to compete with Microsoft’s subscription service.”
“Sony’s public outcry over subscription games and the company’s response are clear: Sony doesn’t want attractive subscription services to threaten its dominance in the digital console games distribution market,” says- he.
“In other words, Sony protests against the introduction of new monetization models capable of challenging its business model.”
Microsoft also refutes Sony’s assertion that Call of Duty is a “category of games unto itself”, stating, “The PlayStation itself has a foundation laid by loyal gamers to the brand.
“This finding, however, does not support the conclusion that PlayStation – or any branded product with loyal consumers – is a separate market from all other consoles.
“Extrapolating from such a finding, the extreme conclusion that Call of Duty is a ‘game category unto itself’ is simply unjustifiable under quantitative or qualitative analysis.”
It also lists five reasons opposing Sony’s claim that adding Activision Blizzard games to Game Pass would lead to an unattainable lead in subscription services for Microsoft. According to Microsoft, this claim is false because:
- this is not part of Microsoft’s strategy to remove player content, and COD will still be on PlayStation as a paid title
- data shows gamers view subscription services as only way to pay for games
- Sony’s claim ignores the “dynamic nature” of subscription services, and the fact that Sony has its own too
- (information redacted)
- there are many other game distribution channels and subscription services, many of which include content not available on Xbox
Microsoft also claims that arranging exclusivity deals has been central to Sony’s strategy to strengthen its position in the games industry, and that in addition to having its own first-party exclusives, it has also exclusive agreements with third-party publishers.
He also claims that Sony is actively trying to hinder the growth of Game Pass by paying certain developers “blocking fees” to prevent them from adding content to Game Pass.
Finally, Microsoft claims that not having Call of Duty games on PlayStation wouldn’t make business sense, as it would only be profitable if enough people jumped onto Xbox to make up for the money lost by not selling games. PlayStation copies.
In its first response to Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard released in January, Sony said it expects Call of Duty games to remain cross-platform due to “contractual agreements”.
Microsoft’s head of games also later confirmed plans to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms once Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is complete.
However, it was later claimed that Activision Blizzard had contractually committed to releasing only the next three Call of Duty games for PlayStation consoles, including that year’s Modern Warfare 2.