Following Microsoft’s move to secure Activision Blizzard as a subsidiary in early 2022, speculation about what this means for the console market is becoming more and more relevant.
For the tech giant to close the deal, they must first enforce the decision of global competition regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission, with the goal of preventing the formation and exploitation of any practices monopolistic
Read: Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion
Microsoft has gone on record that Activision Blizzard does not produce any “must-have” games, in a report published in June, as noted by stone paper shotgun – a rather questionable defense of its possible properties, considering the acquisition for US$68.7 billion (AU$95.6 billion).
After the start of the regulation process, ‘Idas’ – member of the video game forum ResetEradescribed responses from Sony, Ubisoft, Google and others, made public by Brazilian regulators, providing documentation of the review procedures.
Prominent among these are the concerns raised by Sony, the corporation behind the PlayStation and a longtime competitor to Microsoft’s own Xbox. While most other publishers and developers had no particular concerns about the lack of competition for Activision Blizzard, Sony voiced opposition to the acquisition, citing the first-person shooter franchise. Obligations as reason enough for consumers to opt for Xbox, among other exclusives such as the platform’s subscription service: Xbox Game Pass.
In his response to the review, transcribed by CVGSony addressed the issues competitors might have in circumventing the title’s dominance:
Each annual Call of Duty release takes 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.’
‘Approximately 1,200 people work on each version and another 1,500 are involved in publishing and distribution. Therefore, Call of Duty alone has more developers than most game companies in their entire development portfolio, including AAA studios.” Taking into account its plan to hire more than 2000 developers by 2023 according to its Q1 2021 financial reportthe discrepancies between Activision and the smaller studios only grow.
Beyond the barriers to entry to production, meaning only a few publishers could hope to produce anything of similar scope and quality to Obligationsdoing so in a similar timeframe and against the inertia the franchise already has, might be next to impossible, a sentiment Sony seems to be sticking with.
The PlayStation supplier described call of Duty fanbase as a ‘community of loyal users’ so ‘established… that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, they wouldn’t be able to compete with it’.
Of all modern technology industries, gaming is perhaps the easiest to keep consumers loyal: Players lose accumulated experience, both in-game and out, as well as any platform friends, achievements, and unlocked content if they choose to a competitor instead. .
The review also lists Obligations as one of Sony’s biggest sources of third-party revenue, though exact numbers remain confidential in the proceedings. Sony’s statements only reinforce its insistence that Activision titles such as Obligations remain multiplatform by contractual obligation, raised for the first time after the initial acquisition agreement in discussion with Wall Street Journal.
Although the future of call of Duty Exclusivity remains uncertain, at least the next three games in the franchise will be cross-platform as part of Microsoft’s commitment to ‘[honour] all existing agreements after the acquisition of Activision Blizzard’, including its plans to ‘keep Call of Duty on PlayStation’, reported Bloomberg.
Read: Call of Duty won’t be exclusive for at least three games
While Sony’s trepidation on the matter can be understood simply as a result of fears of losing a large part of its customer base, that is, after all, the issue at hand, especially considering Sony’s undeniable long-term experience. as a leading manufacturer of consoles.