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Sony’s Activision Reaction is Eye Opening

Sony has reacted to the Activision purchase to regulators, and it is an eye opening glimpse behind the curtain.

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Without all the bluster and PR of companies on the public stage, we see what Sony thinks are the biggest threats of Microsoft buying Activision.

To be fair, this isn’t necessarily their true feelings. Call of Duty is a huge title on PlayStation. They want the sale blocked. It makes sense to overegg the despair. But taken at face value, we see the threat of losing Call of Duty, and the growing impact of Game Pass.

Idas at ResetEra did a write-up of reactions to the purchase from a Brazillian regulation document.

Sony’s concerns included Call of Duty being impossible to replicate, with the title standing out as a category of its own. The franchise is so ingrained, that even a similar game from an equally talented development team would fail to get similar attention.

Game Pass, they say, “has grown to capture approximately 60-70% of the global subscription services market”.

This reaction to the sale is telling. PlayStation doesn’t want to lose a major title from its catalogue. It is one of the company’s biggest third party revenue sources.

Sony and Activision

Nonetheless, this seems like it’ll have little impact on the sale. It’s easy for Sony to complain, and everybody knows why they would, but other third parties seem less upset about the deal.

The deal will go through, probably well in advance of the end of financial year timeline we originally had, and then and only then will we see what Microsoft’s plans are for the future.

We know they have said Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation. And of course it will. They’re not going to pull Warzone or old titles, just like with Bethesda. Will new standalone titles come to PlayStation? We don’t know. My guess is absolutely not. “Wherever Game Pass is” was the answer for Bethesda, and that will remain the answer going forward. Expect new free-to-play titles on Sony devices and nothing else.

With that said, the barriers are coming down. Bungie will be working on multiplatform games, and there’s every possibility they’re talking about Xbox when they say that. Is there any reason to think the Sony-owned developer would need Xbox? Probably not. However, there is money to be made in both directions.

There are still things up in the air when it comes to exclusivity, especially since, as with before, Microsoft can’t actually dictate anything until the purchase is through. They can talk vaguely up until the cheque has cleared.

But I find the Game Pass talk far more interesting. Activision will be a huge boon for the service, and Sony is already concerned about it.

That Game Pass is 60-70 percent of the subscription market means we’re not including the base tier of PlayStation Plus. Sony says it would take many years to develop a rival to Game Pass.

Suffice to say, competition in this market will soon heat up.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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