One of the staunchest opponents of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard-King is Sony, which is professing great concern about the possible upheaval in the market balance that a $68.7 billion deal could cause.
Amid other things, attorneys and representatives of the PlayStation house repeatedly urged competition watchdogs to assess the huge growth that the Xbox Game Pass catalog might undergo with the addition of Activision-Blizzard games and in particular Call of Duty, which is a phenomenon played by millions and millions of users each year.
The truth would be very different, however, according to a source from insider Tom Henderson, who requested to remain anonymous. Allegedly, at a Q&A session conducted earlier this month Jim Ryan confessed to his employees that he did not see Xbox Game Pass as a threat.
Upon a specific question from one of his employees, the CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment reportedly responded as follows:
“When we look at Xbox Game Pass, it appears that its subscribers are declining. When we look at Game Pass, the number of PlayStation 5s we have sold in two years is higher than the number of subscribers they have picked up in 6-7 years.”
Putting Microsoft’s service in comparison with PlayStation Plus, Ryan would later add, “We are close to 50 million subscribers and they are in the low 20 million subscriber range.”
Microsoft has 25 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers, based on official documents sent by Microsoft to the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the antitrust authority. For its part, Sony reported 45.4 million PlayStation Plus subscribers in early November.
What is painted by the anonymous source ( which as such cannot be considered entirely reliable) here is a very different Sony than the fearful one that is showing itself in public.
Outwardly it claims that the Activision-Blizzard acquisition is “harmful to competition, harmful to the video game industry, and harmful to gamers themselves,” whereas on the inside it would appear to be much more confident.
Meantime, the Microsoft has also found another major opponent: the FTC. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission ruled against the deal and sued the Redmond-based company.