When will this madness end, eh?!
The Call of Duty back-and-forth between Microsoft and Sony has continued lately, with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority publishing a report (thanks VGC) revealing that Sony is concerned that even if the series remains on PlayStation well into the future, it still believes people will be influenced by "exclusive features" on Xbox.
As a result, Sony says that these factors are likely to determine which console consumers buy:
“SIE told the CMA that, even if CoD games remained available on PlayStation following the Merger, the Merged Entity would still be able to engage in partial foreclosure by increasing the differentiation between the versions of CoD available on Xbox and on PlayStation."
“According to SIE, gamers may expect that CoD on Xbox will include extra content and enhanced interoperability with the console hardware, in addition to any benefits from membership in XGP. SIE submitted that these factors are likely to influence gamers’ choice of console.”
Of course, Sony is well aware of what exclusivity can do for Call of Duty, as PlayStation owners have been treated to a variety of exclusive content for the series over the past few years, even in the case of the upcoming Modern Warfare 2.
On the Microsoft side of things, it feels like the company is really getting fed up of these Call of Duty-specific concerns, telling the CMA that Sony has been "significantly exaggerat[ing] the importance of Call of Duty". Microsoft appears to believe that the CMA's decision to proceed with a Phase 2 investigation has been brought about primarily by Sony's critical statements over the past couple of months, which it has described as "self-serving":
“In short, Sony is not vulnerable to a hypothetical foreclosure strategy, and the Referral Decision incorrectly relies on self-serving statements by Sony which significantly exaggerate the importance of Call of Duty to it and neglect to account for Sony’s clear ability to competitively respond."
“While Sony may not welcome increased competition, it has the ability to adapt and compete. Gamers will ultimately benefit from this increased competition and choice.”
The drama continues, then. Even though Microsoft has revealed its displeasure with the CMA's investigation, the deadline for its completion is March 2023, so we could be waiting a long time yet until we get a proper conclusion.
Here are some more of Microsoft's comments in relation to Sony's Call of Duty concerns:
"Should any consumers decide to switch from a gaming platform that does not give them a choice as to how to pay for new games (PlayStation) to one that does (Xbox), then that is the sort of consumer switching behavior that the CMA should consider welfare enhancing and indeed encourage. It is not something that the CMA should be trying to prevent."
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know down in the comments below.