The two companies discussed the potential launch schedule for new consoles in statements released Wednesday as part of UK regulator The The ongoing investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority in Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of ActivisionBlizzard.
The CMA has expressed concerns about the impact of the $68.7 billion deal could have on PlayStation’s ability to compete given that the merger would see Microsoft take ownership of the Call of Duty series.
“This impact will most likely be felt during the launch of the next generation of consoles, where gamers are making new decisions about which console to buy,” according to the regulator.
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In its response to the CMA’s concerns, Microsoft said the next generation of consoles is many years away and claimed any impact from the Activision the deal was highly speculative.
“The parts [Microsoft and Activision] do not dispute that a portion of gamers are likely to reevaluate their console ownership at the start of a new generation,” he wrote. “But they also note that this is an event that only happens about every eight years.
“I[n]the next new generation of consoles isn’t expected to release until fall 2028 at the earliest.
Sony says there is a very real threat that Microsoft will make Call of Duty a Xbox exclusive, while its rival claims it has little commercial incentive to do so.
Whatever the truth of the matter, Microsoft’s statement also confirms that it made a contract offer to Sony that would keep Call of Duty on. PlayStation “at least until the end of 2027” (since Microsoft’s comments were provided to AMC, company claims to have made Sony a 10-year Call of Duty offer).
Hypothetically, even though it intended to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation platforms after 2027, Microsoft argued that “Sony has more than ample time to adapt its business strategy.”
In its partially redacted statement, Sony also references Microsoft’s offer to keep Call of Duty available on PlayStation until 2027, and how that could impact the fortunes of its next console.
“Microsoft has offered to continue making Activision games available on PlayStation only until 2027… By the time SIE has launched the next generation of its PlayStation console (which is expected to happen around [redacted]), it would have lost access to Call of Duty and other Activision titles, making it extremely vulnerable to consumer shifts and subsequent deterioration in competitiveness,” Sony wrote.
“Even assuming SIE had the capability and resources to develop a franchise as successful as Call of Duty, it would take many, many years and billions of dollars to create a challenger for Call of Duty – and the example of EA‘s Battlefield shows that such efforts would more than likely be in vain.
Elsewhere in its statement, Sony claimed that if Microsoft were to gain sole control of Activision’s “irreplaceable” content, this could lead to the company raising prices for Xbox hardware, software and subscriptions.
Sony also claimed that Microsoft’s “real strategy” behind the deal with Activision Blizzard was to make PlayStation “become like Nintendo” and not compete in the 18 rated shooter space.