Regulators from around the world have been requesting comments from video game giants as part of its review process for Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and some of the most revealing have seemingly been shared by the Brazilian government.
As noted in a lengthy report from VGC, which translated the bulk of the comments, Sony seems particularly annoyed with Microsoft’s interest in Activision, with a chief reason being ownership of the Call of Duty franchise. This is a hugely popular series that “could influence users’ console choice,” according to some of the responses by the PlayStation maker, which clearly prizes the shooter, having called it “an essential game: a blockbuster, an 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 break into the top 10 of all entertainment brands among fans, joining powerhouses such as Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
“Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ choice of console, and its community of loyal users is entrenched enough that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, it would not be able to rival it.
Sony goes on to provide additional reasons as to why Call of Duty is so important, including how each game takes “hundreds of millions of dollars” to develop and usually involves well over 2,000 people, not to mention the franchise’s sales power, with even “weaker” installments like 2021’s Call of Duty: Vanguard being one of the best-selling games of the year.
But despite Sony’s apparent qualms over the deal, it looks as if Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for some period of time.
Xbox head Phil Spencer said in January that he “confirmed [their] intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and [their] desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation,” adding that Microsoft valued its relationship with Sony.
Bloomberg reported later that month that Activision’s next three Call of Duty games would be on both PlayStation and Xbox.