Worldwide regulators are asking competitors like Sony for comments on Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard buyout and how it could affect competitor’s positions in the market. Sony had a few choice words to say about Activision’s most popular franchise.
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Call of Duty is the top shooter series of all time. It’s a powerhouse franchise that helps Microsoft and Sony generate combined billions every year (even with the 30% split). We’ve already calculated that Sony (and Microsoft) would lose hundreds of millions if Call of Duty is kept off of PlayStation platforms should Microsoft’s $68.7 billion Activision-Blizzard deal close, but Sony has delivered official comments reiterating how important Call of Duty is for gaming.
In an official response to Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), as found on this webpage and machine translated for this article, Sony legal representation said that Call of Duty is unrivaled in the games industry. Representation indicates that Call of Duty exclusivity could be a paradigm shift for the games market.
“No other developer can devote the same level of resources and expertise to game development. Even if they could, Call of Duty is heavily entrenched, so that no rival – no matter how relevant – can overtake it. Call of Duty has been the top -selling game for nearly every year over the past decade, and for its genre, it’s overwhelmingly the best-selling game. It is synonymous with first-person shooters and essentially defines that category.”
We know that Call of Duty made over $3 billion in revenue in 2020and Call of Duty Mobile has generated over $1.5 billion in revenue.
Activision also sold 25 million Call of Duty games in 2021.
To date, the Call of Duty franchise has made over $30 billion.
While not explicitly clear, Sony’s comments could be seen as an argument against platform exclusivity for the Call of Duty franchise.
Sony counsel does say, however, there isn’t currently an exclusive franchise that could swing the balance of power across platforms.
“Exclusive games are a parameter of competition between Microsoft and SIE, although no company has so far developed or acquired an exclusive game that has decisively shifted the balance in favor of a console. This is because proprietary exclusive games are less popular and represent less revenue than third-party AAA games, which, until then, are available on Xbox and PlayStation.”