Sony believes Call of Duty could inspire users to switch to Xbox following Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
That’s according to the company’s official response to questions from Brazil’s regulatory body (first spotted by Restore), which, like many regions, is currently reviewing the proposed agreement for approval.
Along with other companies such as Ubisoft, Amazon and Google, Sony’s responses to various questions about the acquisition proposal have been published in full by the Brazilian government.
Sony’s response, read by VGC, mainly describes the current state of triple-A game development for the Brazilian regulator. However, much of it highlights the importance PlayStation gives to Call of Duty, a franchise that it claims “influences users’ choice of console.”
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In its responses to the questionnaire, Sony calls Call of Duty “an essential game: a blockbuster, AAA-type game that is second to none.”
“According to a 2019 study, ‘The importance of Call of Duty to entertainment, in general, is indescribable,’” the company said. “The brand was the only video game IP to break into the top 10 of all entertainment brands among fans, joining powerhouses like Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
“Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ choice of console, and its network of loyal users is so ingrained that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, they couldn’t compete with it” .
Sony went on to explain how the massive resources Activision puts behind Call of Duty is the main reason it believes the FPS series is unlikely to be rivaled by a competitor.
“Each annual Call of Duty release takes approximately 3-5 years to develop. Since Activision releases one Call of Duty game per year, this equates to an annual investment of hundreds of millions of dollars,” he explained.
“Approximately 1,200 people work on each version and another 1,500 are involved in publishing and distribution. Thus, Call of Duty alone has more developers than most game companies in their entire development portfolio, even AAA studios.
“Also, given their plans to recruit an additional 2,000 developers by 2021, Activision likely expects Call of Duty to be even more successful in the future.
“No other developer can put the same level of resources and expertise into game development. Even if they could, Call of Duty is of Duty is too entrenched that no rival, no matter how relevant, can catch up with them.”
Sony went on to note that Call of Duty has been the best-selling game almost every year for the last decade, and for its genre, “is overwhelmingly the best-selling game.”
“It’s synonymous with first-person shooters and essentially defines that category,” he said. “This is also shown by player engagement on social media: Call of Duty has over 24 million Facebook fans vs. Battlefield’s 7 million; and more than 12 million followers on Instagram compared to 2 million for Battlefield”.
He added: “To say the least, players are unlikely to switch to alternative games as they would lose that familiarity, those skills, and even the friends they made playing the game.
“Even in weaker years like 2021, Call of Duty managed to outperform most other games by a sizable margin. Call of Duty: Vanguard (2021), for example, was widely regarded as weaker than previous years’ titles, but it was still one of the best-selling games of 2021. In other words, even in a bad year, gamers remain loyal to the brand and continue to buy the game.”
In its first response to Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, published in January, Sony said it expects Call of Duty games to remain cross-platform due to “contractual agreements.”
Microsoft’s gaming chief also later confirmed his intention 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 has contractually committed to releasing only the next three Call of Duty games for PlayStation consoles, including this year’s Modern Warfare 2.
The Call of Duty series is regularly among the most popular games on PlayStation. Last year, the series was the first (Vanguard) and third (Black Ops Cold War) best-selling games on PlayStation in the US, according to NPD.