PlayStation owner Sony Interactive Entertainment believes that Microsoft’s upcoming acquisition of Activision Blizzard – and ownership of the Call of Duty franchise – can inspire users to switch consoles.
Sony made the statement in response to the Brazilian regulator, which released documents online regarding its investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard (via ResetEra and VGC).
The regulator has sought advice on the acquisition from a number of companies including Ubisoft, Warner Bros and Riot Games, with Sony’s responses posted here.
In the document (translated via Google), Sony claims that it is relatively very difficult for companies to create rival best-selling franchises like Call of Duty and Fifaadding that there are few developers or publishers capable of producing Triple-A games and long-running franchises outside of Activision.
Brazilian regulators then asked Sony’s opinion on whether or not Activision had close competitors with its franchises, to which the company replied:
“Activision’s Call of Duty is a must-have game: a “blockbuster”, a AAA type game that has no rival. According to a 2019 study: “The importance of Call of Duty to entertainment in general is indescribable. The brand was the only video game IP to enter the top 10 of all entertainment brands among fanatics, joining powerhouses like star wars, game of thrones, Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings.”
“Call of Duty influences users’ console choice and its network of loyal users is so ingrained that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, they would not be able to compete,” Sony added.
Sony was then asked what factors would make it difficult for a franchise of this scale. be replaced or find competition from other developers:
“Call of Duty generates strong bonds with players. The franchise’s memorable stories and characters lead to a rich gaming experience, and its long history has created an unparalleled level of familiarity.
“Activision has released Call of Duty titles every year since 2003,” Sony continued. “Players have familiarized themselves with the game’s setup and mechanics. They have honed their skills in the game’s multiplayer mode over the years, striving to climb to the top of the leaderboards.
“There is even a sports area just for Call of Duty. The Call of Duty League – with prizes for winners that number in the millions. To say the least, gamers would have a hard time switching to alternative games because they would lose that familiarity, those skills, and even the friends they made while playing the game.”
While Sony’s concerns over Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision may be warranted, Microsoft itself made it clear earlier this year that it intended to keep the franchise on PlayStation and available across different platforms.
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