Sony Claims Microsoft's Acti-Blizz Deal Could Make PlayStation "Like Nintendo," Hurt Indie Devs, And "Lead To Price Raises"

Their comments paint a future where Microsoft could be a dominating player in the industry.

Anthony Jones
By Anthony Jones, News Editor November 23, 2022
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Sony Claims

The growing list of claims from Sony against Microsoft’s proposed Activision-Blizzard acquisition deal continues to get bigger after another round of recent comments.

In response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision to expand their investigation into the deal, Sony claims Microsoft's "true strategy" is to “make PlayStation like Nintendo” with an uncompetitive 18-rated shooter library. Furthermore, they believe if the deal goes through, it will “hurt developers and lead to price rises.”

Inside a 22-page document, Sony’s claims paint a future where Microsoft could hold an incredible amount of sway over the direction of the industry. Notably, Sony believes the deal could make users leave the PlayStation’s ecosystem and reduce its competition in the shooter space. If Microsoft makes Call of Duty exclusive after their decade deal to keep the series on PlayStation, Sony argues its gaming system would become “like Nintendo." The PlayStation would lack prominent FPS titles that could stand toe-to-toe with the CoD franchise.

Call Of Duty Vanguard And Warzone Delay

“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)…and it would then be free from serious competitive pressure.”

Sony also claims Microsoft’s exclusive grip over the “irreplaceable” CoD series and other Activision content would harm independent developers and could hike up prices for games, hardware, and subscriptions. According to the CMA’s findings that Activision’s and Microsoft’s games account for 30-40% of all minutes played on consoles in the UK, Sony argues that Microsoft gaining sole control over the CoD publisher would harm consumers, competitors, and independent developers. In addition, it would make users jump ship from the PlayStation ecosystem in favor of Xbox and/or Game Pass.

“Faced with weaker competition, Microsoft would be able to: increase console and game prices for Xbox users (including those that switched from PlayStation): increase the price of Game Pass, and reduce innovation and quality…Microsoft’s foreclosure strategy would lock in many consumers to Xbox.”

Call Of Duty PlayStation Microsoft

Sony added Xbox and/or Game Pass would “become a critical distribution channel for independent developers. In that weakened negotiating position, independent developers would likely receive worse terms for their content from Microsoft or even be required to promise exclusivity in return for distribution, thereby diminishing independent developers’ ability and incentive to invest in high-quality new games.”

In the wake of their concerns over the deal, Sony is confident the CMA will seek to prohibit Microsoft’s acquisition when their investigations conclude on March 1, 2023. The CMA will publish its in-depth findings into the deal but will focus on scrutinizing any anti-competitive outcomes if the acquisition happens. Overall, the coming months will likely continue the back-and-forth commentary between Sony and Microsoft before we know the status of the proposed deal.

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About the Author

Anthony Jones
Anthony Jones, News Editor
Anthony Jones is a gaming journalist and late 90s kid in love with retro games and the evolution of modern gaming. He started at Mega Visions as a news reporter covering the latest announcements, rumors, and fan-made projects. FFXIV has his heart in the MMORPGs scene, but he's always excited to analyze and lose hours to ambitious and ambiguous MMOs that gamers follow.

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