The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released Sony’s comments on Microsoft’s proposed fixes for its merger with Activision today. Microsoft has already made a 10-year deal with both Nintendo and Nvidia to keep putting Call of Duty on their platforms, but Sony flatly refused to do the same. Now we know why.
In the CMA’s report, Sony said that it turned down Microsoft’s 10-year deal because it didn’t go far enough to make sure the quality of Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony specifically said that Microsoft could make a bad version of Call of Duty for PlayStation by using fewer or worse developers.
“Even if Microsoft was honest, it would have a reason to support and prioritize development of the Xbox version of the game,” Sony wrote. “For example, it could do this by using its best engineers and more of its resources.” “It would be impossible for the CMA or Sony to keep track of how Microsoft spends its money and how many engineers it puts into the PlayStation version of Call of Duty to make sure that Sony is treated fairly and equally.”
PlayStation Players Will Switch To Xbox
Sony even said that Microsoft might try to break Call of Duty on PlayStation on purpose to get people to buy Xbox. “For example, Microsoft could make a PlayStation version of Call of Duty where bugs and errors only show up on the last level or after later updates. Even if these problems could be found quickly, it’s likely that any fix would come too late. By then, gamers would have lost faith in PlayStation as a place to play Call of Duty.”
Sony has some proof to back up what they say. A survey done by the CMA showed that 25% of PlayStation players would switch to Xbox if Call of Duty was only available on Xbox. If the Xbox version of Call of Duty became the “best” version, it seems likely that a similar number of people would switch.
On top of that, Microsoft has already said that after the merger, it will stop making Call of Duty DLC which is only available on PlayStation. This means that PlayStation will no longer get special treatment when it comes to the shooter franchise.
As the market leader, Sony has every reason to make the merger look like the end of the world for gamers, even though that might not be the case. Still, half of the competitors the CMA talked to said that the merger would hurt their bottom lines.
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