In a response to the UK’s anti-trust authority, Sony Interactive Entertainment has stressed that PlayStation Plus must not be made available on Xbox formats, suggesting that there have been attempts or at least considerations.
Microsoft complained about it last Octoberthat Sony would block Xbox Game Pass on PlayStation consoles, which could lead to the continued availability of the Call of Duty series on Sony platforms.
Conversely, Microsoft also shows no interest in allowing the PlayStation Plus service on the Xbox consoles. Sony refers to this in a statement to the British supervisory authority CMA.
“Microsoft’s claim that having Game Pass available on PlayStation would be a panacea for the damage of this transaction sounds particularly hollow given that Microsoft is not allowing PlayStation Plus to be available on Xbox,” Sony said.
Microsoft argued that demand for game subscription services would not be in favor of Game Pass, as Microsoft could make Game Pass – should Sony allow it – available on PlayStation consoles as well.
Sony, in turn, warned that the wider availability of “the leader” along with the exclusive and irreplaceable content such as “Call of Duty” and through “direct and indirect network effects” would lead to a scenario in which it would be unsuitable for competing multi-game Subscription services would be more difficult to compete.
In fact, Microsoft does not deny that it intends to make Activision content exclusive to Game Pass and deny PlayStation Plus access to that content.
But Microsoft has an answer ready for that as well: “Activision has never released newer content on multigame subscription services and has no intention of doing so in the future. Without the merger, Activision’s content would not be available on multigame subscription services.”
The merger can therefore “under no circumstances worsen the competitive conditions”.
Ultimately, both companies essentially keep their services compartmentalized from each other as there is no incentive to establish competing offerings on their own platform.
This is how Microsoft decides on exclusive releases
Critical for the planned takeover of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, however, are less subscription services, but the threatened exclusivity of “Call of Duty”. Microsoft has repeatedly emphasized in the past that they want to keep the shooter series on the PlayStation consoles in the long term.
However, the acquisition of Zenimax and Bethesda caused skepticism, which resulted in a series of exclusive announcements. Starfield, for example, will be exclusive to Xbox. And “The Elder Scrolls 6” shouldn’t be expected by PlayStation players on their consoles either.
In a response to the CMA, Microsoft explained how it differs from Call of Duty. The Redmond company classifies the games of the acquired studios into three categories. This includes:
Niche Market: Small community. New IPs/uncertain audience: Aimed at dedicated gamers, often single-player games. Mass Market: Large online communities that go beyond devices.
According to Microsoft, the new IPs and projects with an as yet uncertain audience offer the greatest value for an exclusive release. “Starfield” and “Redfall” are given as examples.
The company assigns “Psychonauts 2” and “Fallout 76” to the niche market, which makes them less important for exclusive releases. The same applies to games like “Minecraft” and “Call of Duty”, which are assigned to the mass market.
More news about the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard:
In the statements to the CMA, Sony also stated that the Call of Duty franchise is not replicable. The enterprise referred to in this regardthat EA’s Battlefield franchise has sold just 88 million units, compared to Call of Duty’s 440 million sales.
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