UPDATE 5pm UK: In a statement to Eurogamer, a Microsoft spokesperson has addressed Sony’s statement: “It makes zero business sense for Microsoft to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation given its market leading console position.”
ORIGINAL STORY 4.45pm UK:
Sony says it “welcomes the announcement” by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority that it will further investigate Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
In a statement to GamesIndustry.Biz, the platform holder said that “by giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry”.
“We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience,” Sony continued, “and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting gamers.”
At the beginning of the month, the CMA announced it would escalate Microsoft’s proposed acquisistion of Activision Blizzard to “Phase 2,” meaning the regulator will now conduct a more in-depth investigation on the market implications of the acquisition.
The CMA listed several reasons for its decision, but chief among them was the value of the Call of Duty franchise in driving console sales.
Its stated concern was that Microsoft could make Call of Duty into an Xbox-exclusive title in the future, and could then seriously harm future PlayStation sales.
Microsoft has pledged to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for “several more years,” but PlayStation’s Jim Ryan hitback saying it was “inadequate on many levels.”
Ultimately, only one side of this argument will come out happy, and we have some time yet before we find out which.