The soap opera between Sony and Microsoft over the takeover bid for Activision Blizzard continues. After Sony’s statements ten days ago, Microsoft analyzes new elements in a recent document published by the Brazilian commission.
Microsoft responds to Sony over Call of Duty
The document in question is a new little gold mine that shows Microsoft’s lines of defense to validate Activision Blizzard’s takeover bid. On August 1, Sony said it was afraid of Call of Duty and Xbox Game Pass and declared that Call of Duty was a license capable of selling one console over another.
In a document published in the last few hours, Microsoft responds to certain statements made by its rival. The American publisher states, for example, that “Unsurprisingly, Sony was the only third party to convey a materially different public opinion than MS/ABK and third parties regarding the competitive analysis of the transaction.”
Regarding Call of Duty specifically, Microsoft believes that Sony’s arguments aren’t really backed up by hard evidence, especially regarding the uniqueness of the license.
Sony is limited to commenting on the strength, loyalty and commitment of the Call of Duty brand. However, claiming that Call of Duty has a loyal following is a premise that does not follow the conclusion that the game is a “game category unto itself”. PlayStation itself has an established base of brand-loyal gamers. This finding, however, does not support the conclusion that PlayStation, or any branded product with loyal consumers, is a separate market from all other consoles. Extrapolating from this finding, the extreme conclusion that Call of Duty represents “a category of games as such” is simply unjustifiable in the context of a quantitative or qualitative analysis.
Microsoft also reminded that Call of Duty is just one of the popular games, along with other games like Fifa, GTA, Assassin’s Creed, Resident Evil and other Far Cry, as well as other games that are not available on Xbox due to Sony exclusives. . or Nintendo.
Xbox Game Pass already worked fine without Activision
In a rather amusing way, Microsoft also confronts Sony with its contradictions. The Japanese firm mentioned how Call of Duty was a “game changer” in the equation, but Microsoft also recalls that Sony praised the success of Xbox Game Pass, despite the fact that there is no Activision/Blizzard game present in the subscription yet. . Proof of this is that Call of Duty is therefore not an essential success factor for a platform.
As for the huge and irretrievable advantage that Microsoft would gain by integrating Activison Blizzard into Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft indicates that this will not happen for 5 reasons:
- 1. Microsoft recalled that it was not in its strategy to remove content from other platforms. We’ve mentioned it several times already, Call of Duty will still be available on PlayStation. “This fact reduces the incentive for gamers to migrate to Game Pass, as they will be able to continue subscribing to their preferred service (for example, Sony’s PlayStation Plus) and also easily purchase a copy of Call of Duty.”
- 2. The data shows that gamers see subscription services as one of many ways to pay for games, something Sony itself has claimed. “If subscription services compete with the buy-to-play model, as Sony itself acknowledges, and Activision content will continue to be distributed through the buy-to-play channel, then gamers can simply continue to choose the payment model they prefer. they prefer. access Activision content.
- 3. Microsoft recalls the dynamic nature of subscription services and “the relevant presence of Sony itself in this space. » “In fact, subscription services represent a recent monetization strategy. While Game Pass was a pioneer, it is a dynamic space with new services and content emerging, and there are already a number of headlines and services. Sony already offers a subscription service, PlayStation Plus, which the company was able to scale based on its existing user base, the size of the PlayStation platform and its exclusive content. In fact, Sony has surpassed Microsoft in terms of console sales and installed base, having sold more than twice as many consoles as Xbox in the last generation. »
- 4. This reason is hidden due to confidential information.
- 5. Microsoft Claims There Is Strong Upstream Competition and Several Rival Game Distribution Channels, Including Stores and Subscription Services, That Have Access to a Wide Range of Titles in Addition to Activision Blizzard Games, Including Exclusive Content Not Available for Microsoft consumers.
Finally, Microsoft also points out that the use of exclusive agreements has been at the heart of Sony’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the gaming industry. Microsoft also claims that in addition to owning exclusive proprietary content, Sony has also signed agreements with third parties. -Part publishers to secure other forms of exclusivity with respect to certain games, such as marketing exclusives or exclusive rights with respect to downloadable content.
More importantly, Microsoft blames Sony and says its ability to grow Xbox Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth. Therefore, Sony would pay “lock-in fees” to prevent developers from adding content to Xbox Game Pass and other competing subscription services. The Brazilian document hides many confidential elements on this part.
Finally, Microsoft asserts that regardless of the criticism made by Sony, the strategy of keeping Activision Blizzard games, without releasing them on competing consoles, would simply not be profitable for Microsoft, since such a strategy would only be profitable if the games Activision Blizzard were able to attract a large enough number of gamers to the Xbox console ecosystem, and whether Microsoft could earn enough revenue from the sale of games to offset the losses resulting from the non-distribution of those games on Xbox consoles. competition. In fact, it’s hard to deny yourself the tens of millions of PlayStation customers interested in Activision Blizzard licenses.
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