PlayStation owner Sony Interactive Entertainment believes that Microsoft’s upcoming Activision Blizzard acquisition – and ownership of the Call Of Duty franchise – may inspire users to switch consoles.
Sony made the statement in response to Brazil’s own regulatory body, which published documents online concerning its investigation into the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard (via ResetEra and VGC).
In the document (translated via Google), Sony says it’s comparatively very difficult for companies to create best-selling rival franchises to the likes of Call Of Duty and FIFA, adding that there are few developers or publishers capable of producing Triple-A games and long-running franchises outside of Activision.
The Brazilian regulators then asked for Sony’s opinion on whether or not Activision have any close competitors with its franchises, to which the company responded:
“Activision’s Call Of Duty is an essential game: a “blockbuster”, a AAA-like 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 break into the top 10 of all entertainment brands among fanatics, joining powerhouses like Star Wars, Game Of Thrones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.”
“Call Of Duty influences users’ choice of console and its network of loyal users is so ingrained that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, it wouldn’t be able to compete,” added Sony.
Sony was then asked what factors would make it difficult for a franchise of that scale to be replaced or find competition from other developers:
“Call Of Duty generates strong connections with players. The franchise’s memorable narratives and characters lead to a rich gameplay experience and its long history has created an unparalleled level of familiarity.
“Activision has published Call Of Duty titles every year since 2003,” Sony continued. “Players have become familiar with the game’s setup and mechanics. They’ve honed their skills in the game’s multiplayer over the years, striving to climb to the top of the leaderboards.
“There’s even a sports space just for Call Of Duty. The Call Of Duty League – with prizes for winners running into the millions. To say the least, players would hardly switch to alternative games as they would lose that familiarity, those skills, and even the friends they made while playing the game.”
Whilst Sony’s concerns about Microsoft acquiring Activision may be justified, Microsoft itself made it clear earlier this year that it intends to keep the franchise on PlayStation and available across different platforms.
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