Sony has suggested a number of ways that Microsoft could harm PlayStation fans if the latter’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved, including offering a poorer quality – or more expensive – version of Call Of Duty for PlayStation.
Last month, The Competition and Markets Authority – a UK watchdog investigating Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard – published a series of potential remedies to address concerns over the acquisition’s scope.
Yesterday (March 8) the CMA followed the report by publishing Sony’s response to its proposed remedies. In it, Sony argued that Microsoft’s purchase should be carved up or prohibited entirely to prevent the company from using strategies “to withhold or degrade Activision content” on PlayStation.
Sony listed several ways that it believes Microsoft could deny PlayStation users access to Call Of Duty and “impair” competition. This includes raising the price of PlayStation versions of Call Of Duty, “degrading the quality and performance” of PlayStation copies, and “not prioritising investment” in PlayStation-specific features or multiplayer.
“Even if Microsoft operated in good faith, it would be incentivised to support and prioritise development of the Xbox version of the game, such as by using its best engineers and more of its resources,” continued Sony. “There would be no practical way for the CMA (or SIE) to monitor how Microsoft chooses to allocate its resources and the quality/quantity of engineers it devotes to the PlayStation version of Call of Duty, to ensure that SIE would be treated fairly and equally.”
Sony also suggested that Microsoft could “release a PlayStation version of Call Of Duty where bugs and errors emerge only on the game’s final level or after later updates,” which would lead to fans losing “confidence in PlayStation as a go-to venue to play Call Of Duty”.
Regarding the acquisition itself, the PlayStation manufacturer claimed Microsoft has “dragged their feet, engaged only when they sensed the regulatory outlook was darkening and favoured negotiating in the media over engaging with SIE”.
In Microsoft’s own response, the company reiterated it has “no intention” of making Call Of Duty Xbox-exclusive.
Last month, Microsoft president Brad Smith claimed the company doesn’t “see a viable path” to buying Activision Blizzard if Call Of Duty is barred from the purchase.
In other gaming news, the Capcom Showcase is today (March 9) — here’s how to watch it and what to expect.