In a recent hearing with the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), PlayStation boss Jim Ryan expressed his concern over Microsoft’s potential acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The acquisition, which is set to cost 68.7 billion US dollars, has raised questions about the future of popular game franchises, such as “Call of Duty”, which could become a political issue.
Ryan warned that the acquisition could result in a decline in the quality of “Call of Duty” releases on PlayStation systems. He stated that this could cause irreparable damage to the PlayStation brand’s long-term reputation, resulting in a loss of engagement and players.
Sony Interactive Entertainment had previously expressed similar concerns in March, citing potential errors or technical shortcomings in future “Call of Duty” games on PlayStation consoles.
Ryan added that if it were to turn out that PlayStation consoles would have to live with inferior versions of “Call of Duty” in the future, it would damage the reputation of the company and the PlayStation brand itself. “Our gamers would leave our platform in droves and network effects would exacerbate the problem. Our business would never recover,” he concluded.
It is worth noting that Microsoft has recently concluded parity agreements with several companies, including Nintendo, Valve, and various cloud gaming services.
These agreements are intended to ensure “equivalent technical and content implementations” of future “Call of Duty” titles. However, Sony Interactive Entertainment has so far shown little interest in such contracts.
Microsoft has confirmed that it is not in active negotiations with Sony Interactive Entertainment. The company has also stated that it makes no sense to withdraw a successful series like “Call of Duty” from other platforms such as PlayStation consoles.
Nonetheless, the concerns raised by Ryan highlight the potential harm that Microsoft’s acquisition could cause to the PlayStation brand in the long term.