In the wake of the persistence of Sony push back Against Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard and Call of Duty for “PlayStation games,” many pointed to some ironies, such as how Sony is currently announcing exclusive access to the Modern Warfare 2 beta, including early access and a one-of-a-kind release operator or operator.
But I think Sony’s reason for protesting so much is not because of the loss of exclusive bonuses like these, which they undoubtedly won’t get anymore in a Microsoft-owned era. And I don’t actually think Sony thinks Microsoft will make Call of Duty completely exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem, as Microsoft has repeatedly said they don’t, and will leave a massive amount of money on the publisher’s table by doing so. Sony knows this.
Instead, Sony is fighting against this deal as it sees the potential end result of it. These are new Call of Duty games that sell on PlayStation at full price, maybe $70, while the same game is offered as included with Xbox Game Pass every year. And that’s something Sony feels they can’t compete against, even if the game is still as available on console as ever. They might think Call of Duty is a big enough series to start moving players from PlayStation to Xbox, if they’re going to get Call of Duty “for free” every year, as well as all other Game Pass games first party deals.
I think Microsoft will continue to sell Call of Duty on PlayStation after this deal. I think Sony thinks so, too. But this presents a unique situation as a massive former third-party series is heading to Xbox Game Pass while Sony is still asking players to pay the full price. This has happened many times with deals made by Xbox, with games like Outriders launched on Game Pass but costing the regular amount from PlayStation. But it’s usually apples and oranges. Yes, Sony charges $70 for Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us Part I while Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon are on Game Pass, but this is a completely different series. Here, Microsoft will offer the biggest game of the year, every year, on Game Pass, while Sony will have to sell it at full price.
Not that Sony offers its own games on Day One as part of PlayStation Plus or anything else, but when Call of Duty is owned by Microsoft, it won’t even have SelectionBecause Microsoft will never let that happen. But that doesn’t seem to matter, as Sony has repeatedly said it’s not seeing a Game Pass-like model where its biggest games are released on the service rather than sold individually, which is a viable way to fund and monetize these titles as they are.
So it’s not that Sony doesn’t have anything to complain about, I just think that people really lose out on what they fear. And Sony isn’t honest about it either. The loss of exclusive beta weeks and operators is a small potato. But I don’t think the “disaster” scenario of Microsoft tearing Call of Duty out of the PlayStation completely is a possibility, which Sony has to know. Instead, Sony won’t really say what you’re afraid of, Microsoft gives out a Call of Duty every year to Game Pass subscribers, while Sony will continue to charge the full price, giving a portion of the who – which Revenue directly to Microsoft.