Sony: Xbox owning Call of Duty "could influence users' console choice"

Tom West - August 1st 2022

Microsoft's proposed acquisition plans for Activision Blizzard, and subsequently Call of Duty, could lead users to purchase Xbox consoles instead of PlayStation, Sony has told Brazil's regulatory body.

A number of companies' responses to the Brazilian regulatory body have been posted online, which was initially spotted by users on Resetera (thanks, VGC), but most notable was Sony's comments about the proposed deal and Call of Duty's influence across the industry.

Sony answers questions about Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal

As posted by the Brazilian government, Sony's response to the questionnaire is mostly aimed toward Activision's Call of Duty franchise, which comes as no surprise considering, in Sony's own words, it "is overwhelmingly the best-selling game" of the last decade.

“According to a 2019 study, ‘The importance of Call of Duty to entertainment, in general, is indescribable,’” Sony's response notes. “The brand was the only video game IP to break into the top ten of all entertainment brands among fans, joining powerhouses such as Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings." It's that popularity that has the company concerned that the brand "influences users' console choice," and that fans of the franchise "would be unlikely to switch to alternative games, as they would lose that familiarity, those skills and even the friends they made playing the game."

Sony has previously said that it expects Activision's games to remain multiplatform once the deal closes, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer has somewhat reassured Sony by saying that Microsoft has a "desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation."

Naturally, Sony's hesitancy is to be expected. “Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ choice of console, and its network of loyal users is so entrenched that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, it would not be able to rival it," Sony says in response to the questionnaire. “Each annual Call of Duty release takes approximately three-to-five years to develop. As Activision releases one Call of Duty game per year, this equates to an annual investment of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Sony continues. “Approximately 1,200 people work on each version and another 1,500 are involved in publishing and distribution. Thus, Call of Duty alone has more developers than most game companies employ across its entire development portfolio, even AAA studios" — “Also, given its plans to recruit 2,000 additional developers by 2021, Activision probably expects Call of Duty to become even more successful in the future."

We might not have too much longer to wait before we find out just what Microsoft plans on doing with the franchise, as the FTC's investigation looks to be moving quickly at this point. We'd love to know what you think of this news. Do you feel like Sony should be concerned, or will Call of Duty remain multiplatform? Let us know down below!