game news Call of Duty: What the clash between Jim Ryan (PS5) and Phil Spencer (Xbox) tells us about the Activision affair
It seems like a long time ago when the official Xbox Twitter account posted videos featuring PlayStation games. It was eight years ago. It must be recognized that since 2014, the gaming landscape has changed a lot, and the tide may be turning for some giants. Ever since Microsoft announced its desire to acquire the publisher of Call of Duty, Sony has gone to the forefront to convince regulatory authorities that the American enemy has the weapon of mass destruction. Should this be seen as crisis communication?
- The fears of a leader
- Mismatch, really?
- a war of egos
The fears of a leader
Abruptly announced on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of the Activision Blizzard King group continues to stir people’s minds. A (big) blow that the current leader of the console manufacturers (based on the turnover generated in the game) has a hard time accepting. As regulators have been looking into the ins and outs of this historic $69 billion merger, the flame of the console war has been rekindled.. Reports from Brazil’s national competition regulator have highlighted differences in views between the Redmond and Tokyo-based firm. According to Jim Ryan, the current head of PlayStation, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision could damage the current balance of the industry. In fact, two sensitive issues are pointed out by the representatives of the Japanese group.
The first is based on the firepower that this Game Pass acquisition will allow.. By integrating Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022), Diablo or even World of Warcraft into “day one” in the catalog, Microsoft could have such a strong dominance in the market for subscription gaming services that it would discourage anyone trying to enter this sector. As a reminder, the market share of Game Pass would vary between 60% and 70% compared to other services of the same type.
The second point listed by Sony comes from a hypothetical future exclusivity of Call of Duty to the Xbox ecosystem, a series that Ryan and his teams describe as “so important in the FPS world that defines the genre”while reminding that the games produced by Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games are “almost always at the top of sales for a decade”.
What Sony fears is simple: lose in the field of digital distribution and then subscription due to an unrecoverable Game Pass and also lose market share in the console segment if Call of Duty becomes exclusive to Xbox. “Sony protests the introduction of new monetization models capable of challenging its economic model focused on the sale of consoles and exclusives for several years” summary of his side Microsoft. Despite updating its PlayStation Plus offering, which now includes three separate offerings that provide more or fewer games through an online catalog, the Japanese giant doesn’t appear confident in its ability to compete in the services arena if its direct competitor recovers Activision.
If the Call of Duty issue seems important to both Sony and the competition authorities, it is because the franchise generates a lot of money for the Tokyo group. We remind you that 30% of the amount spent by players who buy Call of Duty on PlayStation or who obtain content from PlayStation Store goes directly into the pockets of Sony. This represents millions of dollars. For a company whose PlayStation numbers are proudly displayed during quarterly results, a certain engines of the group, the situation can worsen. In the event of a downturn in the gaming segment due to much less money coming in from third parties, the entire company is likely to experience turmoil.. What is happening with Activision is revolutionizing the Japanese giant that set the tone during the PS4 generation. The analysts are, in any case, formal, even if Microsoft decides to launch the future Call of Duty on PlayStation 5 and 6, this operation will be weaken the current leader of the top three manufacturers.
Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, had declared shortly after the announcement of the acquisition proposal that he “would like“what Call of Duty”is still available on PlayStation”. The fact that the British competition authority announced that it was opening an in-depth investigation into the acquisition of Activision Blizzard led Phil Spencer to reveal that he had promised Jim Ryan that the franchise would still be released on PlayStation.several years after the agreements already in force”. Although at first glance this statement may seem reassuring to the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, the devil is in the details. “Several years” means that one day (at the launch of the next generation?), the Redmond firm may decide to turn off the tap.
It is in this context that regulators often make private exchanges public, and where Phil Spencer publishes a official publication to bring his version of events, which Jim Ryan attacks. “I did not intend to comment on what I thought was a private business discussion, but feel the need to set the record straight as Phil Spencer brought this topic into the public arena.” he confesses games industry. He continues: “Microsoft only offered Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years after the current deal between Activision and Sony ends. After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and did not take into account the impact on our players. We want to make sure PlayStation players continue to benefit from Call of Duty in the best possible way, and Microsoft’s proposal goes against that principle.”. In other words, and in the current state of the agreement, Call of Duty should continue to reach PlayStation consoles until 2027/2028..
What Jim Ryan clearly wants is for Microsoft to commit indefinitely to non-exclusivity for Call of Duty. The president of SIE knows that under pressure from the regulatory authorities, the Redmond firm can let go. At the time of writing, the New Zealand and Australian commissions have postponed their verdict, which was scheduled for September 9, 2022. Regardless, the argument put forth by PlayStation gamers that “deserve“Playing Call of Duty is barely audible when delivered by a company that has secured exclusivity for, among others, Street Fighter V. At that point, the message it was clear:Do you want to play the Capcom game? So buy a PS4The Tokyo group has also put tickets on the table to find exclusive (total? temporary?) Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XVI. The company has also secured the services of Bethesda (publisher now part of Xbox). family) with timed exclusives from Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo.
a war of egos
On the Internet, the general public revels in the lively exchanges between the two giants. In social networks, players go there with their little comment. “The more time passes, the more execrable Sony’s policy seems to me.can we read for here. while some they make fun of kindly from Jim Ryan, others defend itas Geoff Keighley. Part of the specialized press fingertip some bad faith on the part of Sony. For tom guide“PlayStation should be thankful for Microsoft’s offer for Call of Duty“Of course, console wars have always been in discussion spaces, but as happened during the Epic / Apple lawsuit, enthusiasts have access to”off” that seasons the debates. During the previous generation, good friend Xbox quickly realized that it would be very difficult to catch up with the best-in-class Sony from him. That is why we have witnessed cordial, even friendly, exchanges between the two competitors. Since Shawn Layden left Sony and Phil Spencer reinforced the proposal first party of Microsoft, relations have become strained. Everything seems to indicate that the classmate at the bottom of the class is preparing his revenge by following the path he has chosen.
More than two brands arguing, they are two personalities that challenge each other. Jim Ryan on one side, Phil Spencer on the other. The two have worked for a long time in their respective companies: 1994 for Ryan, 1988 for Spencer. Both have had a meteoric rise. But the ruthless British businessman faces a leader full of ideas trying to impose a disruptive model. In recent months, Sony has largely followed the path blazed by Microsoft by embracing cross-play, investing in the game service, merging PS Now and PlayStation Plus to compete with Game Pass, or even producing controllers.Elite”. Matt Booty (Head of Studies first party from Microsoft) explained in an article on GameSpot that Phil Spencer”he was always five steps ahead”. Perhaps that is what bothers its competitors today, more than the supposed unlimited checkbook.
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