Sony is afraid of Microsoft, the fault of Call of Duty

The acquisition of Activision by Microsoft is finalizing little by little and Sony has a few cold sweats at the idea of ​​seeing Call of Duty in the stable of its direct competitor.

The announcement of the takeover of Activision by the giant Microsoft had the effect of a real earthquake within the industry. While mergers and acquisitions are commonplace, this takeover and the sum put on the table marked history. But everything is not yet settled and if the FTC must obviously validate the deal, the case must also go through many regulators around the world (Japan, Australia, China, United Kingdom, etc.) Normally, this kind of business remains confidential in most countries, but not in Brazil where everything is so transparent that it is possible to find all the exchanges between the different parties directly on the net.

During these exchanges, the country’s regulatory services question various market players (Google, Warner, Ubisoft, etc.) on their opinion and vision of the Brazilian market and the takeover of Activision. And if there is one answer that interests us here, it is that of the direct competitor of the green brand, Sony.

Call of Duty: an unbeatable license

In a long document (which you can consult online) Sony explains that it is cautious about the idea of ​​​​seeing Call of Duty in the Xbox portfolio. For the manufacturer, Call of Duty is a real “system seller” without any competitor, and players would be ready to change consoles just to play Activision’s FPS.

Activision’s Call of Duty is an essential game: a blockbuster, AAA-like game that has no rival. […] The brand was the only video game intellectual property to enter the top 10 of all entertainment brands among fanatics, joining powerhouses such as 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 entrenched that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, it could not compete. .

Sony would therefore be afraid of this takeover which could harm it, especially since Call of Duty and Warzone have been the most played games on PlayStation for years. For Sony, no one can compete with the Call of Duty brand, which alone brings together as much, if not more, resources (manpower and funding) than most companies can deploy across the entire their projects.

About 1,200 people work on the development of each game and another 1,500 are involved in publishing and distribution. So Call of Duty alone has more developers than most game companies employ in their entire development portfolio, even AAA studios. Still, given that Activision plans to recruit 2,000 more developers by 2021, it likely expects Call of Duty to be even more successful in the future. No other developer can dedicate the same level of resources and expertise to game development. Even if they could Call of Duty is too well establishedso that no rival – no matter how relevant – can catch up with it.

Microsoft takes up too much space, Sony cringes

A machine considered unstoppable which could end up in the hands of a Microsoft which, still according to Sony, already swallows all the competition and has also established itself as a must in several sectors.

Game Pass has grown to capture around 60-70% of the global subscription services market (this market share is even greater in Brazil, where Game Pass accounts for around 70-80% of the PC subscription services market)[…] It would take a competitor several years – even with large investments – to create an effective rival for Game Pass..

Sony therefore sees red and risks big. As said above, the Call of Duty brand is very present on PlayStation and is one of the most important licenses for the brand. Sony admits in particular that Call of Duty is the third-party license that brings in the most money on PS4 and PS5and that he would lose considerable sums if the shooter were to disappear from his services (the figures have not been made public).

Exclusive games are a parameter of competition between Microsoft and Sony, although no company has so far developed or acquired an exclusive game that has tipped the balance decisively in favor of a console. In effect, first-party exclusive games are less popular and represent less revenue than third-party AAA-type games, which, to date, are available on Xbox and PlayStation. Activision titles, including Call of Duty, represent an important source of revenue for PlayStation. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare set a record for the most digital pre-orders on PlayStation Store in 2019. Together, Call of Duty franchise games represent one of SIE’s largest sources of third-party revenuein terms of physical and digital spending in 2021 as well as microtransactions and DLC.

We will therefore understand that Sony does not want to see its golden egg goose go feeling literally taken by the throat by Microsoft taking over the market at high speed. But for now, Microsoft has assured that Call of Duty will not leave other platforms for at least 3 years.

Sony, for its part, has also begun to pass the second. The Japanese brand is investing more and more and no longer hesitates to buy studios such as Bungie and Housemarque recently, is developing its catalog on PC and has even rolled out a new offer for its PlayStation Plus to gain ground on the Game Pass. Microsoft may be pretending to be a real steamroller, but the competition is setting in and nothing is won. Maybe she arrives a little late that said, but whose fault is it?

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