Microsoft refutes Sony’s claims that its Activision acquisition is anti-competitive

From VGC: "Microsoft has responded to Sony‘s claims that its ongoing attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard would be anti-competitive, especially with regards to Call of Duty.

Last month Sony told Brazil’s regulatory body CADE – which like many regions, is currently studying the proposed deal for approval – that the deal could influence players to switch from PlayStation to Xbox.

At the time, it argued: “Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ choice of console, and its community of loyal users is entrenched enough that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, it would not be able to rival it.”

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MadLad112d ago (Edited 112d ago )

If that's the case, Sony sells itself on its high quality releases.
Make a shooter that can compete.

Sony doesn't invest in RPGs anymore, but puts out money to keep games like Final Fantasy exclusive. How is this any different? Aside from the fact Microsoft is willing to pay the money to buy the company and bankroll future releases.

bloop111d ago

There's a difference between paying for the odd 3rd party exclusive here and there to trying to gobble up everything in the industry to create a monopoly.

VenomUK111d ago

The power of Call of Duty and its draw to gamers shouldn't be underestimated.
Besides sports games like Fifa Football and Madden, Call of Duty is the only successful annualised mass market franchise. Annualised is the significant word because it's not a series its fan tire of, they are willing to buy new games in the series every year.

John_McClane111d ago

Serious question, I thought ps fans bought PlayStation for their exclusives, am I wrong?

Lifexline111d ago

What’s the difference? If even with activision they are still not the number one publisher in the world. Isn’t it more anticompetitive to pay for final fantasy exclusivity i and basically kill the in japan. Bwhere it struggles to get Jrpgs? They all do it buy publishers since the beginning of the industry. So what’s the problem if anyone else does it they are praised but if Microsoft does it they are called anti competitive.

TheLigX111d ago

People tend to forget that this is not the first time Microsoft has attempted to monopolize an industry. They succeeded the first time, and it looks like they will again. Our regulatory bodies usually do jack shit to stop it too.

itsmebryan111d ago

When news got out about the Activision purchase came out a lot of people here said Call of Duty was dead. It's funny that Sony doesn't feel the way. Sony has Kill zone, why don't they just make more Kill zone and they should be fine.

KillBill110d ago

Difference being that Microsoft assured that COD would remain muti-platform while Sony pays for games like FF7 to not appear on competing systems. Obviously any earnings will go to Microsoft and devs can make games that are not multi-platform... but we aren't arguing over new IPs are we.

Gunstar75110d ago

Sony can't afford to. If they could they would and they use every tactic in their arsenal to suppress competition.

They pushed sega out the console manufacturing industry, but now the big boys are getting serious and Sony are crying about it.

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 110d ago
MIDGETonSTILTS17111d ago

I have to agree with you.

I think ppl that buy CoD EVERY year are a little dim, but that doesn’t make them any less attainable as customers.

If Sony could make a shooter that was worth playing for years on, even if we all had to buy $60 worth of DLC every year, then they will have filled that need CoD fills annually: guarantee fun, fresh shooting content with friends around the holidays, every holiday (except in 2023…).

Factions could be that shooter. MAG could’ve been that shooter. Halo Infinite should’ve been that shooter.

CoD IS that product.

Nobody, including Sony apparently with all of their talent, can understand how to replicate that product without resorting to 3 studios working together on an annual franchise (which is a business model I NEVER, EVER wanna see Sony replicate.)

Keep trying Sony, plenty of people are still trusting you, Microsoft doesn’t have THAT advantage. And we don’t want a Game Pass equiv, don’t over invest in that please.

Crows90111d ago

That product can't be replaced. It's one of the first of it's kind. They only way to replace is to remove it and then replace it. If CoD ceases to exist something else can take its place. No way to replace in any other way yet. Highly unlikely no matter the title. Much better shooters out there and yet they can't replace it.

MIDGETonSTILTS17111d ago


How about the first year-long hiatus CoD is taking in 2023?

Is that not an opportunity to be replaced?

Extermin8or3_111d ago

Final fantasy is a timed exclusive for starters....

derek111d ago (Edited 111d ago )

@MadLad ithas nothing to do with making a shooter "that can compete". Even if Sony was prolific at making shooters that does not address the problem of allowing Microsoft to buy up 3rd party publishers in order to control the market.

S2Killinit110d ago

There is no denying the fact that MS pulled a very anti-consumer move when they gobbled up large chunks of the industry that used to make games for all consumers in order to compete.

blacktiger110d ago

That's not the point. Activision has become too great that is considered dominance in gaming. And regulator sometimes considers it belongs to public such as Google Search, Microsoft windows OS. So it all depends what you buy. Look at Nvidia, they lost on ARM purchase.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 110d ago
gangsta_red112d ago (Edited 112d ago )

Interesting little bit that needs to be submitted on its own right here...

"It also alleges that Sony actively tries to hamper Game Pass’s growth by paying some developers for “blocking rights” in return for them agreeing not to add their content to Game Pass."

It would be interesting to see what games/developers Sony has tried to do this with.

gangsta_red112d ago

Damn shame, so much for Game Pass not being a threat (or sustainable) to sony.

rippermcrip111d ago

How is this any different than timed exclusives type of thing? These kind of things have existed with both companies for many years.

Extermin8or3_111d ago

This is being misrepresented of Sony have marketing rights then they can't put it on games pass. I guarantee you that Microsoft has similar conditions in contracts even they have marketing rights.... also quite what this has todo with anything is beyond me. If MS want to challenge this as an anti-trust matter; then they can but it has 0 impact on if activision acquisition is anticonpetitve or not.

gangsta_red111d ago

I don't understand how marketing rights would prevent a game from coming to a sub service. Usually a marketing deal only entails that company promoting said game on media outlets for their system, not preventing that game from being played on a system, let alone a sub service.

alb1899110d ago

It isn't the same to know that someone is doing something to say that you believe is doing something..

rlow1111d ago (Edited 111d ago )

Not sure why all the disagreements when your just stating a fact.

That said, when it comes down to it, it’s just competition. Just a little under handed. Now if it was MS called out on this, the fanboys would be having a field day with it.

alb1899110d ago

With the COD card on MS hand, SONY will be more careful doing some things that would make MS act.
COD won't be exclusive and doesn't have to be. If it is on Gamepass and have exclusive content regularly it will be preferred to be play on XBOX without questions.

Extermin8or3_107d ago

COD won't be exclusive until sonys deal for the marketing rights expires I just realised the answer to my own question. The relevance or this is most likely that MS won't be able to out COD games on games pass till they have already been out for a year..... till the 2028 release...

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masterfox112d ago

have to be honest it really bothers me that Sony PR is saying this kind of stuff, seriously Sony forgotten how the PS3 a year later of its released was able to surpass in sales the 360 /CoD combined?, and PS3 did that with quality games, hell I would insta-buy a new Killzone , Resistance over whatever new COD game releases, the trend Im seeing here is that gaming is getting stale , lazy and greedy, game companies are aiming for the less developing effort but still asking for a lot of revenue, well fudge that you lazy ba×@#%stards, (Im seeing you ND With your remake price tag nonsense). Seriously Sony you are the last hope for stopping this game industry become full of mediocrity and greed, dont ruin it!, let them have Activision or Bethesda , PS exclusives are far superior than those averageness combined.

sparky77112d ago

AAA games are not sustainable they get more expensive each gen and they barely make any money unless they all sell 30ml+.

Subs and GaaS are the future and Sony sees that. If you want traditional games stick with Nintendo.

Christopher112d ago

Do people here honestly think Sony can compete against Microsoft + Bethesda + Activision? Seriously, people? Even though we all know that the best-selling game every year on PS3, PS4, and PS5 has been a Call of Duty game?

At no point has a Sony exclusive performed better than a single annual release game from Activision, Call of Duty. Now add in the other major titles from them and Bethesda.

Y'all are expecting a normal human at the Olympics to outperform Hercules. That's just not how it goes. Sony will still have good games, but they just aren't going to compete with Elder Scrolls, Call of Duty, or Diablo games. Let alone the potential IP wrapped up in all of those purchases that will likely outperform Sony's AA game releases pretty easily.

tay8701111d ago

it may not sell more than COD, but im betting spiderman 2 sells more than elder scrolls and diablo. sony definitely has to find a proper game to compete with COD though. it may not be just 1 game though. between the deviation game, last of us online, haven game, bungies new IP, twisted metal gaas game, guerllia, insomniac and sony london gaas games, i think they can lessen the blow. MS is saying they arent going to make it exclusive, but i dont believe a word they say. they dont have another game that really anyone gives a damn about. elder scolls is probably 5 plus yrs down the road. if they cant close the gap, i have no doubt they will make it exclusive. they will lose alot of money short term, but MS doesnt care about that.

anast111d ago

Elder Scrolls isn't as big as people think. If Starfield doesn't do well. Elder Scrolls 6 will barely sell 6 million copies in the first year and this is still 10 years from now. And for sure Sony is okay with any potential IP. I would be surprised if just one potential IP form MS actually pulls the same cultural sway as Sony IPs in the next 20 years.

sourOG111d ago

Sony gets 30% of every ps cod sale. Sony gets 100% of every first party sale. They can compete. Releasing a few more titles a year to make up the losses would take hard work but it’s not impossible.

Christopher111d ago (Edited 111d ago )

***it may not sell more than COD, but im betting spiderman 2 sells more than elder scrolls and diablo***

So you agree with CoD, an annual release and not once every 4 years, beating that big of a thing?


Notice that ZERO PlayStation games are even on the list and yet #20 is shared by CoD: MW, Skyrim, and Diablo 3. There is five Call of Duty games on that list. Three IP now owned by a single company that is a direct competitor to Sony and their hardware.

***sony definitely has to find a proper game to compete with COD though***

It's just that easy. I mean, look at everyone else who has done it. Wait. Nevermind.

***Elder Scrolls isn't as big as people think.***

Skyrim alone is in the top 20 best-selling games of all time, isn't an annual release, and has the most active mod community still. TESO is one of the most popular MMOs out there on consoles and PC.

Elder Scrolls is way bigger than you think.

***Sony gets 30% of every ps cod sale. Sony gets 100% of every first party sale. [...] Releasing a few more titles a year to make up the losses would take hard work but it’s not impossible. ***

Sony gets money for doing nothing but creating the platform versus sony getting money for spending tens of millions of dollars and creating the platform. Do you see that as competing? I see it as surviving.

outsider1624111d ago

But dont all Cod, most Bethesda games sell better on playstation?
It'll be quite interesting to see how their sales will be now as compared to with to with playstation.

sourOG111d ago

Yes that’s real competition lol. Selling product that they invest in. Getting money for doing nothing isn’t competing imo. All I’m saying is their games don’t need to sell as many units as cod to recoup what they lost.

Christopher111d ago

***Getting money for doing nothing isn’t competing imo.***

Doing nothing. AKA doing more than what Microsoft has done so Microsoft decided to buy them out to stop Sony from doing it anymore. Yeah, those pesky hardware items that made their games a mainstream item haven't done anything.

sourOG110d ago

Doing nothing AKA collecting a 30% tax for existing. I would not consider collecting taxes above spending more than 46 billion dollars or whatever the ridiculous amount was lol. That’s not nothing, that’s never been done before.

KillBill110d ago

Where was this argument with Minecraft? It obviously out performs them all yet not a peep. Why?

Christopher110d ago

***Doing nothing AKA collecting a 30% tax for existing.***

Stop being ignorant. It's not a winning argument.

***Where was this argument with Minecraft? It obviously out performs them all yet not a peep. Why?***

CoD releases the best-selling game of the year every year. Minecraft is just one game. I'm not saying this is a good enough reason to block the sale, but Sony is more right than Microsoft in that CoD stands way apart from other games due to their standing in the industry each year. Microsoft wants us to think it's the equivalent of one IP from Sony that releases maybe once every 3 to 4 years and doesn't sell more than most third-party games.

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moriarty1889111d ago

Yes it’s as if Sony are reluctant to make their own shooters anymore. It’s a shame because they have amazing studios that would deliver in spades imo.

tay8701111d ago

im holding out hope that the gaas games coming from insomniac and gueriila are resistance and killzone games. those are easily my 2 favorite shooters.

sourOG111d ago

What was the last Sony branded FPS? How long ago was it? Seems ancient lol.

Extermin8or3_107d ago

I don't think it's reluctance per se but they tried to compete with cod and the shooters used to have their multiplayer lobbies die when cod released and if they released too soon- people would buy COD instead of the exclusive fps. Of course if NS made cod exclusive and Sony announced its own military fps ir a title like a new resistance then I think it would do well

Crows90111d ago

Same here. Give me a high quality resistance or kill zone.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 107d ago
Christopher112d ago

INAL but not really interesting stuff here as far as responses go. Just usual stuff to refute claims in the hopes that our BS is better than their BS, IMHO.

***Only one third party, Sony, presented materially different opinions than the Applicants and the other third parties consulted by the SG***

Well, yeah, they're the only hardware competitor. Why would Ubisoft complain that Activision will still be Activision to them? Ubisoft has its genre of games, Activision has theirs.

***is resentful of having to compete with Microsoft’s subscription service***

Yeah, and Microsoft is pushing Multi-Cloud Vision because they don't want Amazon to become dominant in cloud services.

This is kind of how business works. You prevent your competition from having a leg up. Same way Microsoft advertises games on Twitter when Sony buys advertising rights for them. You take away any advantage they have, even if it makes you look like a hypocrite.

***Sony does not want attractive subscription services to threaten its dominance in the digital distribution market for console games.***

And yet Sony was the first to have an attractive subscription service and recently revamped it to get more people to subscribe at multiple tiers?

***In other words, Sony rails against the introduction of new monetization models capable of challenging its business model.***

January 28, 2014. That's the date that PS Now was released in North America.

***Extrapolating from such a finding to the extreme conclusion that Call of Duty is a ‘category of games per se’ is simply unjustifiable under any quantitative or qualitative analysis.***

It is the best-selling game every year for almost two decades on both Xbox and PlayStation. It's what has allowed Activision to lose money on dozens of other games.


Anyway, that said, I doubt this will stop Microsoft's merger. It will be seen as more business and more employees and more tax money than if it didn't happen.

rippermcrip111d ago

This is news? Microsoft argues their purchase of the largest third party console game publisher isn't anti-competitive. Did you expect them to say it was?

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