Microsoft Disputes Sony's Concerns About Call Of Duty Ownership

Microsoft claims that Call of Duty is not in a class of its own within the video game market.

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In a 27-page document related to the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft attempts to refute Sony's concerns that PlayStation Call of Duty players would switch to Xbox.

Sony recently claimed to CADE, Brazil's regulatory committee, that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and by extension Call of Duty, would strongly influence consumers console buying choices. Microsoft responds to those claims in a new document, as reported by VGC, Microsoft states that Sony was the only company surveyed that made such claims. Microsoft also argues that Sony is "resentful" of competing with Game Pass and wants to squash any potential competition to its business model.

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Microsoft deputes Sony's claim that Call of Duty is in a class of its own when it comes to mass market video games, using Sony itself as a counter-example. The document argues that even though PlayStation has a massive set of loyal followers, it cannot be considered as a separate market from other video game consoles. Similarly, though Call of Duty has a large audience, it cannot be considered outside of competition with other titles.

Additionally, Microsoft claims that Sony, as well as other companies with gaming subscription models, have their own means for competing with Game Pass and that players see subscription services as one method for paying for games. Finally, Microsoft reaffirms that Call of Duty will continue to be available on PlayStation and states it would be unprofitable to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation, because it would have to pull PlayStation users to Xbox, rather than just letting them continue to purchase games.

Microsoft announced its intended acquisition of Activision Blizzard in a turbulent time for the massive publisher. In July 2021, the state of California filed an anti-discrimination lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. This kicked of a flurry of worker organization and continuing court drama. Microsoft did agree to recognize an Activision Blizzard union after the acquisition goes through. Because of the acquisition's size, and possible anti-trust concerns, it has already received scrutiny from regulatory agencies across the world.

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