Sony isn’t too happy about the prospect of Microsoft owning Activision Blizzard and, by extension, Call of Duty.
Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard for $69 billion back in January, and the acquisition is being reviewed for approval by regulators around the world, with each country handling the process differently. Brazil gave game companies operating in that market, including Sony, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Games, Riot Games, and Bandai Namco, a questionnaire (spotted and translated by ResetEra) asking them to give their thoughts about the acquisition that sent shockwaves throughout the industry. Their responses were made public on Brazil’s Public Administration database (with some passages redacted for confidentiality reasons).
Sony’s responses appeared to be the most negative. The PlayStation giant argued that Microsoft owning Call of Duty may influence players’ choice of console, despite Microsoft saying that the game series will remain multiplatform. Players already mull over choosing consoles based on price and features, among other factors so it believes that by Microsoft owning Call of Duty, they’ll have no choice but to buy an Xbox console instead of the others for the sake of that game alone.
Sony also argued that the Call of Duty franchise is so popular that it doesn’t have a rival, going so far as to compare it to EA’s Battlefield. It wrote that Call of Duty games “tend to be long-running franchises with big budgets, multi-year development cycles, and fanatical followings. And despite large budgets and resources, no other developer has managed to create a franchise to rival Activision’s Call of Duty, which stands out as a gaming category in its own right.”
To prove its point, Sony cited a 2019 study that found Call of Duty to be the only video game franchise to break into the top 10 most lucrative entertainment franchises in the world, including Game of Thrones and Harry Potter, the latter of which has Hogwarts Legacy releasing this holiday season. It also said that Activision Blizzard continues recruiting developers for Call of Duty to increase its already gargantuan workforce and enhance talents that a rival franchise coming up would face a nearly impossible task in terms of competing.
Sony’s opinions about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard may come off as hypocritical, considering it bought Bungie for $3.6 billion not even two weeks after the latter acquisition took place. Microsoft’s purchase still needs to be approved by 20 regulators as is, and Sony’s opinion may either make or break the deal.