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Sony Claims Microsoft Could Degrade Call of Duty on PlaySation on Purpose

Posted March 9, 2023 | Activision Blizzard | Call of Duty | Games | Microsoft | Playstation | Sony | Windows | Xbox

Sony told the UK’s Competition Market Authority (CMA) that it believes Microsoft could purposefully introduce bugs on the PlayStation version of Call of Duty games if it’s allowed to acquire Activision Blizzard. Sony used this argument in new documents published by the CMA yesterday, which details Sony’s observations on the remedies previously suggested by the country’s antitrust regulator.

Despite Microsoft’s offering Sony a 10-year deal for Call of Duty and repeated claims that it wants to make Activision Blizzard games available to more players, Sony isn’t buying it. “Prohibiting the Transaction would safeguard against the foreclosure strategies Microsoft could employ to withhold or degrade access to Activision content,” Sony claimed in the document.

Sony used the quite absurd argument that “Microsoft might release a PlayStation version of Call of Duty where bugs and errors emerge only on the game’s final level or after later updates.” According to Sony, “If it became known that the game’s performance on PlayStation was worse than on Xbox, Call of Duty gamers could decide to switch to Xbox, for fear of playing their favourite game at a second-class or less competitive venue.”

Call of Duty has a massive user base on PlayStation, and the PR damage would be quite significant if Microsoft ever used the tactic suggested by Sony. The Redmond giant dismissed Sony’s argument in a statement shared with Eurogamer yesterday.

“Since the CMA issued its Provisional Findings, we have offered solutions which address its concerns and increase the deal’s benefits to UK players and game developers. These include a guarantee of parity between Xbox and PlayStation on access to Call of Duty and legally binding commitments to ensure that Call of Duty is available to at least 150 million more players on other consoles and cloud streaming platforms once the deal closes,” A Microsoft spokesperson said.

Microsoft’s response to Sony ended with a plea to effectively promote competition instead of protecting Sony’s leadership position in the console market. “The decision now lies with the CMA on whether it will block this deal and protect Sony, the dominant market leader, or consider solutions that make more games available to more players,” the Microsoft spokesperson said.

In its efforts to point out Sony’s irrational arguments to block its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft was joined yesterday by Activision exec Lulu Cheng Meservey, which quoted the words Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment said during a meeting in Brussels on February 21. “I don’t want a new Call of Duty deal. I just want to block your merger.”

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