Xbox : Sony en état d’alerte après le rachat d’Activision et Call of Duty par Microsoft

Xbox : Sony en état d'alerte après le rachat d'Activision et Call of Duty par Microsoft

business news Xbox: Sony on alert after the takeover of Activision and Call of Duty by Microsoft

There is the rhetoric and the reality behind it. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard was so shocking that the giant Microsoft’s competitors inevitably reacted internally to establish a strategy to counter such a giant. If those interested showed some phlegm to show off their serenity, certain data tend to prove that the announcement was experienced as an earthquake. And it’s not the first time this has happened…

A feeling of déjà vu

Twenty years ago, when SEGA decided to leave the world of console manufacturers, the publishers communicated welcoming the now new publisher with welcome messages. But for some, like Electronic Arts, it was a showcase. Because the moment SEGA announced its intention to become one of the top publishers, the new competitors just held crisis meetings! And the American publisher went even further by writing a salty letter to the highest authorities on Wall Street. Clearly, the smile shown hid real fears. Today, history repeats itself with a much more powerful firm than SEGA was at the time.

Sony fears the rise of Xbox

This information is far from appearing out of nowhere. As you know, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been confirmed by stakeholders, but is still pending before competition regulators around the world. If the transaction has been confirmed, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will have to wait for the return of the various commissions to release the champagne. And precisely the Brazilian commission that interests us here. The latter has contracted the services of a law firm whose objective is to verify, point by point, the ins and outs of this mammoth acquisition. Through a series of questions/answers organized with the giants of the sector, they have produced a report in Portuguese that has just been made public. And when we look at the case of Sony, some answers are far from unnoticed. See instead:

Creating a high-end AAA game (like Activision’s Call of Duty) requires a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of employees. Microsoft and Activision’s competitors, in terms of game development and publishing, include SIE, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Epic Games, Riot Games, Warner Brothers Interactive, Rockstar, and Take-Two (owner of Rockstar and 2K). However, aside from Activision, there are few developers/publishers capable of producing AAA games such as EA (FIFA), Take-Two/Rockstar (Grand Theft Auto), and Epic Games (Fortnite). These games tend to be long-running franchises with big budgets, multi-year development cycles, and large followings. And despite huge budgets and resources, none of these developers were able to create a franchise to rival Activision’s Call of Duty, which stands out as a gaming category in its own right.

From these few lines, we discover that Sony is very serious about the Call of Duty franchise, which is an important part of its catalog, and possibly fears a future exclusivity of it on Xbox.

Xbox: Sony on alert after the takeover of Activision and Call of Duty by Microsoft

And the sequel is even more uplifting since it’s all about Xbox Game Pass.

Over the past five years, Microsoft’s Game Pass has grown to represent 60-70% of the global market for subscription services. This share is even higher in Brazil, where Game Pass represents around 70-80% of the PC subscription services market. When Microsoft announced that it would acquire ZeniMax in 2020, Game Pass had around 10 million subscribers. Even if each subscriber bought the cheapest subscription ($10 per month), that equates to more than $1.2 billion in annual subscription revenue. As the chart below shows (editor’s note: in filing with attorneys), when Microsoft announced it would acquire Activision in 2022, Game Pass had 25 million subscribers, a 38% increase from January 2021, doubling its Game Pass annual. subscription revenue of at least $3 billion.

Reading between the lines, we understand that Sony fears the rise of Microsoft and Xbox Game Pass. The manufacturer realizes that the increase in subscribers is steep and that it will not go down. A little later, the report notes that this rise in power coincides with the interest in content that has made possible the acquisition of numerous studios: Double Fine, Obsidian Entertainment, Ninja Theory and even Bethesda. And that with Activision the content would be greatly improved.

Obviously, the comments are raised and do not reveal, apparently, any stress. But much like SEGA and the “ex-partner” rhetoric, it’s clear that Sony’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard isn’t being taken lightly – especially if Call of Duty, capable of selling consoles by the bucketload, joins the fray. within Microsoft in an exclusive way. It will be interesting to see how the Japanese company responds to new challenges in the coming months and years. The first answer was given by the arrival of Extra and Premium subscriptions and the second could well bear the imprint of a certain PlayStation VR2.

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