The ongoing drama surrounding Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard continues to surge. For anyone who might not be aware of what’s going on, the Xbox giant moved to acquire the publisher of Call of Duty, Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot, and other major IP for an astonishing $68.7 billion. Sony, meanwhile, isn’t too happy about the deal, stating its ongoing concerns about potentially losing Call of Duty to its primary competitor. As such, the deal is currently under close scrutiny from several regulators, including the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
In a recently published document, Sony Interactive Entertainment put across a series of observations to potentially assist in its efforts to block the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard from going through, and one observation in particular caught our attention. In a couple of choice paragraphs, Sony effectively states that Microsoft is trying to turn it into Nintendo, arguing that the latter has proved successful without the likes of Call of Duty.
It’s a strange allegation to make, for sure, but let’s check out the full quote for some more context:
“Microsoft argues that Nintendo has been successful without access to Call of Duty. This misses the point. The Decision identifies a wide body of evidence that Nintendo offers a differentiated experience to Xbox and PlayStation because it focuses on family-friendly games that are very different from PEGI 18 FPS games like Call of Duty. This is supported by Microsoft’s internal documents, which, so the CMA found, show that: “In general, Microsoft’s internal documents track PlayStation more closely than Nintendo, with Nintendo often being absent from any internal competitive assessment.”
“Microsoft claims that Nintendo’s differentiated model demonstrates that Sony does not need Call of Duty to compete effectively. But this reveals Microsoft’s true strategy. Microsoft wants PlayStation to become like Nintendo, so that it would be a less close and less effective competitor to Xbox. Post-Transaction, Xbox would become the one-stop-shop for all the best-selling shooter franchises on console (Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, Doom, Overwatch), as the Decision explains, and it would then be free from serious competitive pressure.”
What a revealing quote! It certainly demonstrates the desperation on both sides of the field. Sony is clearly adamant that Call of Duty should remain on PlayStation, but – as quoted from Xbox’s Phil Spencer – “Call of Duty will be on PlayStation as long as players want to play Call of Duty on PlayStation, and that’s not a competitive threat to PlayStation”. So who knows what’s going to happen.
As far as we’re concerned, we’re quite happy letting Sony and Microsoft battle it out in the trenches for as long as is required; we’re pretty content waiting for Tears of the Kingdom to drop on the Switch!