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Sony claims that Microsoft's true strategy is to make PlayStation like Nintendo

Sony claims that Microsoft's true strategy is to make PlayStation like Nintendo

Sony claims that Microsoft's "true strategy" behind its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is for PlayStation to "become like Nintendo" and not compete in the 18-rated shooter space.

The comments were made in a newly published response to the decision by UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority to expand its investigation into the proposed acquisition.

Sony Interactive Entertainment claims in its 22-page response that if the deal is approved, users will leave the PlayStation ecosystem, Microsoft will raise Xbox prices, and independent developers will suffer as a result of the fallout.

Much of the document, as has been the case with regulatory back-and-forth, focuses on Call of Duty and the perceived harm Sony claims the Activision Blizzard deal would cause if the flagship franchise was made exclusive to Xbox.

In one section of its statement, the platform holder highlights Microsoft's comments that other platforms, including Nintendo Switch, have thrived without Call of Duty. Sony's latest response claims that this claim "ignores the facts."

SIE claims that Nintendo's strategy differs from that of PlayStation and Xbox because it does not rely on 18-rated shooter franchises, which Microsoft claims will have virtual exclusive ownership of if the Activision deal is approved by global regulators.

In this sense, it claims that Microsoft's "true strategy" with the Activision Blizzard deal is to turn PlayStation into a competitor to Nintendo in this space.

"Microsoft claims that Nintendo's differentiated model proves that the PlayStation does not require Call of Duty to compete effectively." "However, this reveals Microsoft's true strategy," SIE says in a statement. "Microsoft wants PlayStation to become more like Nintendo, becoming a less direct and effective competitor to Xbox."

"Post-Transaction, Xbox would become the one-stop-shop for all of the best-selling shooter franchises on console (Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, + Doom, Overwatch)," according to the Decision, "and it would then be free from serious competitive pressure."

According to SIE, Activision's games, "particularly Call of Duty," are "critical" to PlayStation.

Activision's games, "particularly Call of Duty," are "critical" to PlayStation.

"The franchise is firmly entrenched in gamers' psyche: every instalment since Call of Duty was first released back in 2003 has consistently topped the charts," it claims, before sharing redacted percentage figures of the audience share it believes it would lose to Xbox if CoD went exclusive.

"Ignoring these facts, Microsoft contends that Nintendo has been successful in the absence of access to Call of Duty," it went on. "This is completely irrelevant. The Decision identifies a large body of evidence demonstrating that Nintendo provides a distinct experience to Xbox and PlayStation because it focuses on family-friendly games that are very different from PEGI 18 FPS games such as Call of Duty.

"This is supported by Microsoft's internal documents, which show that: "In general, Microsoft's internal documents track PlayStation more closely than Nintendo, with Nintendo frequently missing from any internal competitive assessment," according to the CMA.

While regulators in Saudi Arabia and Brazil have approved the Activision deal, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority recently expanded its investigation into a second phase. It is currently inviting members of the public to provide feedback on the acquisition before making a final decision by March 1, 2023.

Brazil's CADE stated in its explanation of its decision to approve the acquisition that it agreed with Microsoft's claim that PlayStation did not require Call of Duty to remain competitive.

"As previously stated, Nintendo does not currently rely on any Activision Blizzard content to compete in the market," it said.


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