Xbox Calls PlayStation “too big to fail” as Regulatory Games Begin
Xbox’s recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard has not gone down too well within the video game industry and the UK Competition and Markets Authority are the latest regulatory body to criticize the move. Xbox have since used deflection tactics to take the attention away from themselves and direct it towards Sony.
Xbox’s defense came following this part of the statement from the UK Competition and Markets Authority:
“The CMA is concerned that having full control over this powerful catalogue, especially in light of Microsoft’s already strong position in gaming consoles, operating systems, and cloud infrastructure, could result in Microsoft harming consumers by impairing Sony’s – Microsoft’s closest gaming rival – ability to compete as well as that of other existing rivals and potential new entrants who could otherwise bring healthy competition through innovative multi-game subscriptions and cloud gaming services.”
Call of Duty might end up being an exclusive Xbox title in the future
The CMA is also concerned that making massive titles like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft exclusive to Xbox will affect video game streaming platforms like NVIDIA and Amazon. There are worries that titles like Fallout, Skyrim and Halo might also follow suit. For now, Xbox hasn’t gone through with a move like this but the CMA fears that this is the end-point for an acquisition like this.
PlayStation CEO, Jim Ryan, also recently labeled Xbox’s offer to extend Call of Duty’s availability on PlayStation platforms as inadequate, which has spiced things up further. For now, Call of Duty games are playable on Sony consoles but it doesn’t feel likely in the long-term.
Microsoft fights back saying Sony doesn’t have enough competition
Microsoft followed this up by making a statement of their own, wherein they claimed that Sony will not be vulnerable to a hypothetical foreclosure strategy and that the acquisition will increase competition among the two console giants, which is ultimately to the benefit of the gamer.
Microsoft also stated that it has a number of disadvantages compares to their competitors. Sony has a console install base of 150 million compared to Xbox’s install base of 63.7 million. Xbox has also claimed that Sony can charge higher prices without any fear of losing its market value.
Here’s an excerpt from Microsoft’s statement:
“Xbox, as a platform which is in last place in console, seventh place in PC and nowhere in mobile game distribution globally, has no incentive to do this – instead its incentive is to encourage the widespread adoption of cloud gaming technologies by as many providers as possible to encourage the major shift in consumer behavior required for cloud gaming to succeed.”
Sony has not kept quiet
Xbox has claimed throughout its defense that Sony has far too big of a stronghold in the market to really be affected by this acquisition. Sony hasn’t been quiet on the matter and has, unsurprisingly, sided with the CMA.
“We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality gaming experience, and we appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting gamers,” Sony responded.
Sony also added that by giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, the deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry. These are some biting words from Sony.
Consoles might be more distinguishable going forward
There’s no doubt that the backlash from any attempt to turn titles that have gained popularity by being available on most of the video game platforms into exclusives will be severe from fans. On the other hand, this might lead to a future where the consoles are no longer at war. Xbox seems to have always had a strong hand in the multiplayer games market since the days of Halo and its gamepass has gained a lot of praise.
PlayStation is mostly known for its excellent AAA exclusives that rely on narrative. Nintendo will remain a hub for JRPGs but has also become the ideal console for indie titles. PC gaming has survived for years with a bit of everything. There might be a future where none of these consoles compete with one another because they attract different consumers. However, there are many gamers who need a bit of variety in their content and might find it too expensive to satisfy that demands.