Extreme degrees of public embarrassment from Sony and Microsoft may show exactly how much is at stake with Xbox’s planned purchase of Activision Blizzard for close to $70 billion. Sony has exhaustively explained its position on the purchase in a lengthy 22-page paper it has filed to the UK authorities. But the platform owner’s assertion that the takeover threatens “the gaming ecosystem at a critical moment” in the summary is possibly the strongest part of the document.
The transaction, according to the manufacturer of the PlayStation, poses a danger to the video gaming market as a whole.
The Transaction threatens the gaming ecosystem at a critical moment. It would take an irreplaceable gaming franchise, Call of Duty, out of independent hands and combine it with Microsoft’s highly-successful gaming system (Xbox), leading multi-game subscription service (Game Pass), dominant PC OS (Windows), and leading cloud platform (Azure).
The only way to preserve robust competition and protect consumers and independent developers is to ensure that Activision remains independently owned and controlled.”
Around the most recent console generation, the video game industry has been moving online, with digital income across all systems often peaking during the coronavirus epidemic. This has caused a paradigm change, particularly in the F2P market, in favor of monetization and live service players.
Activision Blizzard King has played a significant role in this change to digital; although Blizzard and King have always emphasized digital with titles like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Candy Crush, Call of Duty is now becoming more digital-focused with Warzone and COD Mobile. The transition of the games industry to digital, and more crucially, the growing focus on multi-game subscription services, live games, and microtransactions, are referred to as this “critical moment.”
Microsoft is well-versed in the multi-game subscription industry and, with its well-liked Xbox Game Pass service, may have contributed to defining the parameters of this sector’s success. This includes cloud streaming as well, which Sony invented with PlayStation Now years ago. The Activision deal will undoubtedly tip the scales in favor of Microsoft, which is why Sony is “desperate” to get it canceled.