Sony fears that Microsoft could sabotage Call of Duty games on PlayStation consoles if the Activision Blizzard deal goes ahead.
Sony continues to raise concerns about the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Xbox. Namely that Microsoft will try to sabotage the PlayStation versions of Call of Duty.
While some are excited about the prospect of Activision Blizzard’s upcoming acquisition of Xbox, others fear that Microsoft could end up with a monopoly in the games industry after buying up so many other major third-party studios in recent years.
One of the most vocal opponents of the deal is Sony. Many of the fears of the rival first-party console maker are centred around the highly profitable Call of Duty franchise. Sony has previously expressed concern that PlayStation would lose access to Call of Duty if Xbox successfully acquired it. Xbox representatives have repeatedly denied this. Meanwhile, the deal is moving through international regulatory channels.
Recently, Sony aired a new concern about Xbox’s Activision Blizzard merger: that the competitor could actively sabotage future Call of Duty titles on PlayStation consoles. Specifically, Sony claims that said Call of Duty games might be released with insidious bugs that will only be revealed after the final level or in a later update.
As many gamers buy new Call of Duty games within the first few weeks of release, these bugs would be discovered and fixed too late to change fans’ perception of PlayStation gaming – and potentially damage the brand as a result.
These concerns have been raised with the UK Competition and Markets Authority, which has been challenging Xbox’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard since it was announced early last year over potential antitrust issues.
The Microsoft advertising campaign is on a roll
Microsoft appears to be running full-page ads in UK newspapers in its latest attempt to persuade regulators to approve the Activision Blizzard deal. The technology giant is actively campaigning for the $68.7 billion acquisition, as the FTC and the UK CMA have raised regulatory concerns about the deal.
The Xbox maker has published full-page ads in the Financial Times and Daily Mail at a time when the CMA is investigating Sony’s concerns about Microsoft’s possible withdrawal of Call of Duty from PlayStation consoles.
Not surprisingly, the ad highlights the franchise. And Microsoft claims that part of its commitment following its acquisition of Activision is to get Call of Duty to 150 million more players. The 150 million in question refers to the company’s recent deals with Nvidia and Nintendo. How much this will turn things in the tech giant’s favour is yet to be seen, but, indeed, bringing the Call of Duty IP under the company’s umbrella is a prime target for 2023.