Sony's Call of Duty row with Microsoft is getting ugly
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan says Microsoft's Call of Duty offer was "inadequate on many levels"
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Call of Duty on PS5
🙊 Sony has revealed that Microsoft promised to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for three years beyond the current agreement Sony has with Activision
😤 The news was revealed by PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan, who said Microsoft’s offer was “inadequate on many levels”
😅 Ryan’s comments are the latest in Sony and Microsoft’s argument over Call of Duty and Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard takeover as a whole
👍 Microsoft has confirmed Call of Duty will come to Xbox Game Pass in the future
Sony’s thrown more fuel onto the fire in its row with Microsoft over Call of Duty, and it’s fair to say things are getting ugly.
We already know that Sony really doesn’t want Microsoft to own Call of Duty. Now, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan has revealed that despite Microsoft’s promise to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles, the reality is rather different.
Jim Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz that Microsoft’s offer was “inadequate on many levels” and that he wanted to “set the record straight” after Microsoft CEO of Gaming Phil Spencer published a letter outlining the company’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“I hadn’t intended to comment on what I understood to be a private business discussion, but I feel the need to set the record straight because Phil Spencer brought this into the public forum," Ryan said.
“Microsoft has only offered for Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement between Activision and Sony ends. After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers. We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality Call of Duty experience, and Microsoft’s proposal undermines this principle.”
Ryan’s statement about the future of Call of Duty on PlayStation is in stark contrast to what Spencer recently said, who has repeatedly vowed to keep Call of Duty on other platforms.
“We’ve heard that this deal might take franchises like Call of Duty away from the places where people currently play them,” Spencer wrote. “That’s why, as we’ve said before, we are committed to making the same version of Call of Duty available on PlayStation on the same day the game launches elsewhere.”
Microsoft’s $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard is currently in limbo until it is approved by several regulatory bodies. The UK’s competition regulator, the CMA, concluded that it would hold a “phase 2” investigation into Microsoft’s pending acquisition amid concerns that “Microsoft’s anticipated purchase of Activision Blizzard could substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services.”
Ryan’s comments are unlikely to go down well with the UK’s CMA, but it’s also hard not to see them as somewhat hypocritical. Sony has acquired multiple studios over the years, producing exclusive games from PlayStation consoles. The company has frequently paid to secure exclusive third-party games, like Final Fantasy 16, and DLC you can’t get anywhere else. PlayStation has been the home of exclusive Call of Duty content since the PS4 was released in 2013. Case in point: the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 beta drops first on PS5 and PS4.
Microsoft recently accused Sony’s concerns over exclusivity agreements as “incoherent” and claimed that the Japanese company pays developers “blocking rights” to stop games coming to Xbox Game Pass.
Ultimately, it’s up to the regulators to decide whether Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is anti-competitive. Still, Ryan’s statement is bound to ruffle a few feathers at Microsoft, which is aiming to close the deal by March 2023.
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