Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion is still in progress, and it seems like the only major obstacle in the way is Xbox’s biggest competitor, Sony.
The Japanese gaming and tech giant answered Brazil’s regulatory body CADE’s questions about Microsoft’s proposal to buy Activision and said “Players choose their gaming platform based on pricing, technical features, and available game types.” and added that Activision’s Call of Duty is a genre of its own and no other studio can compete with it, even if a gaming entity was to invest in a franchise with the same workforce and resources.
Now, Microsoft replied to CADE to dismiss Sony’s claims and the Big Tech event went on to claim that “Sony pays for “blocking rights” to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass”
Microsoft: “Sony contradicts itself in its response”
Microsoft’s response to the Brazilian regulatory body —transcribed and translated by VGC— is a lengthy one, but mainly focuses on how Sony’s claims aren’t built on solid ground, and adds that the Japanese company contradicts itself multiple times.
Microsoft says, out of all the major parties questioned by CADE, Sony is the only party to “present materially different opinions” and even claims that Sony is resentful to be put in a place where it has to compete against Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s video games focused subscription service.
The company points at Sony owning PlayStation, and the console having “a base of loyal brand players” just like the Call of Duty franchise, and comments that “Extrapolating from such a finding to the extreme conclusion that Call of Duty is a ‘category of games per se’ is simply unjustifiable under any quantitative or qualitative analysis.”
In an attempt to dismiss Sony’s claims, the USA-based Big Tech lists five reasons:
- Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation, and the core content will be identical across all platforms.
- Subscription-based services are only one way to pay for games per data coming from multiple reliable data providers. In most cases, it’s not even the dominant form of payment.
- Sony has a subscription service too, and the Japanese company’s claims ignore the dynamic nature of subscription services.
- Redacted information, only related parties can see this one.
- Xbox also competes with other subscription services, including Sony’s. The market is saturated with game distribution channels.
Sony pays developers to hinder Xbox Game Pass’ growth
Microsoft doesn’t agree with Sony’s claims that the company acquiring Call of Duty is anti-competitive, then points to the fact that “Exclusivity strategies have been at the core of Sony’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the games industry,”
The Xbox makers also claim that Sony is standing in the way of innovative business models with this approach and blocks gamers’ access to high-quality video games at low costs.
The gaming giant adds the following response and claims Sony has been actively trying to hamper Xbox Game Pass and other subscription services’ growth:
“Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been obstructed by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth. Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”
Call of Duty will remain multiplatform
Microsoft also ensures once again that it has no plans to turn Call of Duty into an exclusive title, and adds that it makes no sense business-wise to have a revenue generator like Call of Duty as an exclusive game.
The company claims that for Sony’s worries to have some ground, Call of Duty would need to have enough power to make people switch to Xbox and bring in enough revenue to cover the loss of sales on the PlayStation market.