PlayStation hit bottom: without Call of Duty there are no exclusives

An era that could come to an end

The drama of the Activision Blizzard purchase has shown what is perhaps the lowest point that the Jim Ryan administration has reached in this matter. Beyond the arguments that have been given before, recent events and Sony’s position, along with its ideas that border on paranoia and conspiracy, declare war on Microsoft and directly impact its studios, since the same brand stated that without call of duty the production of exclusives is in danger.


The meeting between Microsoft, Activision Blizzard, Sony, those directly or indirectly involved in the deal, and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was expected to bring out the worst arguments. The British regulator – unable to even understand and do anything with the outrageous loot boxes of FIFA― He presented himself as a strong opponent of the largest acquisition in the history of gaming and from there arose the crazy idea of ​​​​approving it in exchange for Microsoft selling the parts that involve call of duty…yes, that ridiculous.

Microsoft offered all kinds of remedies, except one, which is the most important: they will not sell even an Activision Blizzard King chair, they want the complete company with everything and call of duty and that is not up for debate. As it has done before other regulators, the Xbox company put on the table the 10-year contract of Activision’s star franchise to call of duty, even promised to agree to a new term after a decade, and upped the ante by announcing that it would allow annual installments of the FPS to debut on day 1 on PlayStation Plus, something that goes against Activision’s policies and its perception of subscription services. What matters at this point is winning, so the forms are the least of it.

Video: A DISASTER: the purchase of Activision Blizzard

Sony’s response was the same as always: a resounding no, but then came the worst. First, the company represented by Jim Ryan at that meeting assured that launching the delivery in turn of call of duty on PlayStation Plus you can destroy your service model and the worst thing is that you would not have access to the full business that FPS represents on your consoles up to now. What do we mean? A that PlayStation does not want you to have call of duty on day 1 on PS Plus; He wants you to buy the annual installment and then spend on his online multiplayer, there is no more.

“PlayStation doesn’t want you to have call of duty on day 1 on PS Plus, he wants you to buy the annual installment and then spend on his online multiplayer, there is no more”

Although the refusal is understandable from a business point of view, Sony chose to accompany it with a series of scenarios in which Microsoft and Xbox would act as true bullies. According to the Japanese company, if the purchase of Activision is approved, the guarantees offered by Microsoft for call of duty they are useless because it ensures that prices for license agreements will always be manipulated to the detriment of PlayStation and its platforms.

An era that could come to an end

Likewise, Sony assures that Microsoft will sabotage each release of call of duty, and for this it will release a version full of bugs and errors for PlayStation, while the best experience will be in the Xbox ecosystem. This apocalyptic vision includes Microsoft’s intervention to “right it wrong” with corresponding updates and patches after launch, with the sole aim of luring PlayStation gamers to Xbox.

Then came the biggest scandal to date: according to Lulu Cheng Meservey, an Activision executive and one of the most explicit voices in this process, Jim Ryan directly told representatives of his company and Microsoft that he doesn’t care about the agreements for call of duty, he only wants to block the merger of the companies. For such sensitive information to come to light by an executive is a major thing and confirms what was always obvious: Sony will not negotiate with Microsoft, Activision or regulators; for them it is all or nothing in search of sinking the acquisition.

No matter what's on offer, Jim Ryan will say "No"
No matter what’s offered, Jim Ryan will say “no”


If you thought you couldn’t fall lower, you were wrong, we need another level. Sony’s refusal to purchase Activision Blizzard before the CMA revived an argument that spent a few months in limbo and at the time had no impact. During the phase 1 review before the British regulator, the Japanese company insisted on the financial value of call of duty for the PlayStation business model; Sadly, he acknowledged that losing the Activision franchise would be damaging—almost deadly—for PlayStation Studios projects. According to this perspective, without call of duty innovation and the development of exclusives will be left in ruins.

“… without call of duty innovation and development of PlayStation exclusives will be ruined”

Worse yet, in a desperate attempt to block the acquisition, Sony assured the CMA that approving the Activision purchase and accepting the remedies Microsoft offers will do irreparable damage to the industry. If this is true, you and I as gamers and all the gaming we enjoy exists thanks to FPS warfare.

At this point, it is inevitable to think that Sony, led by Jim Ryan in this process, has fallen into excess to the point of undervaluing the exclusive productions of PlayStation Studios. It even seems that those great AAAs with very high production values, with memorable stories and top-level game proposals are nothing compared to the financial power they represent. call of duty. Given this, we ask ourselves, what message are you giving your teams as a leader?

This all depends on Call of Duty, according to Sony
This all depends on Call of Duty, according to Sony

Let’s not kid ourselves: we know that the success of PlayStation 4 was built on a solid foundation made up of call of duty, FIFA, Fortnite and, depending on the market, with other third-party games that were mostly played on this console. Each of Sony’s financial quarters, its video game division, involved great results thanks to cross-platform games, as they combined copy sales and microtransactions. The success was such that even Sony gave Activision preferential treatment in terms of distribution of profit percentages; in normal scenarios it is 30% for PlayStation and 70% for the publisher. In the case of call of dutythe percentage is lower for the Sony brand and higher for Activision, but this could end if the acquisition goes through.

Beneath all those tested documents is the reality of PlayStation in the current era, which unfortunately depends on call of duty and the third-party, a serious mistake at a time when the industry is undergoing a consolidation phase that puts a price on any publisher and studio.

Except for cases like god of war and God of War Ragnarokas well as spider-man and Uncharted 4, the other exclusives of PlayStation Studios caress the goal of 10 million copies sold, but they have had to spend years for it and that slow commercial and financial performance generates more pressure against the investment necessary to create these great productions. Not to mention the releases on PC, because so far they have been a failure; PlayStation Studios simply hasn’t been able to charm gamers on this platform and each debut delivers worse results. For years, the success of call of duty and other third-party franchises covered this situation until Microsoft burst on the scene, pulled back the veil and exposed the reality of the PlayStation business.

The alternate cover of God of War Ragnarök
The alternate cover of God of War Ragnarök


While Jim Ryan battles with regulators, PlayStation 5 has 30 million consoles sold, according to Sony’s latest cut, and the Japanese company has put some pressure on it now that the pandemic has passed and it is operating regularly. During the annual conference of the financial firm Morgan Stanley, its president Hiroki Totoki pointed out that the expectation is that PS5 will sell more than 60 million units during its cycle. Although he did not venture to say that it will surpass PS4 because the numbers are still below the performance of that console, it is a reality that except for the PS3, the other Sony consoles have exceeded sales by 100 million, and nobody, neither the market nor investors expect less with the current system.

However, it seems that the emergency protocol was activated on PlayStation, because although Microsoft assures that the impact of the Activision acquisition and what happens with call of duty It would be minimal – at most, 3% of users would switch from PlayStation to Xbox – the Sony brand does not want to lose a single dollar and is now looking for something capable of repairing the damage that is coming.

30 years of history should not depend on a franchise that is not yours
30 years of history should not depend on a franchise that is not yours

In theory, the purchase of Bungie should face this situation because the company works on many titles, several of them multiplayer and as a service, but what happens with destiny 2 It does not portend that great success that could heal the wound after the acquisition and its consequences.

Perhaps in desperate action and as new exclusives cook up, PlayStation turned to Naughty Dog for answers and there’s something on the horizon that hardcore fans might be upset about. Recently, Neil Druckmann confirmed that the studio is already working on its next big project, but he can’t say yet; however, what is on the way is the online multiplayer of The Last of Uswhich has gone from being a component of The Last of Us:Part II to an ambitious project that walks by itself. The iconic franchise will now be turned into a game as a service waiting for the success of the series to radiate upon launch and conquer millions of gamers.

“…reality strikes to remind us that Sony Music and Sony Pictures film and television are the favorite divisions right now thanks to the excellent revenue and profits they generate. The years when PlayStation carried Sony on its shoulders are long gone “

Finally, everything indicates that PlayStation should deviate from the path of large acquisitions, as Sony confirmed that it has $5 billion for strategic investments between now and March 2024. The response of the inveterate PlayStation fan is to immediately buy a publisher or developer, but the plans could be different, since the company reported that this capital can be used for video games, but also for other types of content and technology. It is there where the reality hits to remember that at this moment, Sony Music and Sony Pictures film and television are the favorite divisions thanks to the excellent income and profits they generate. The years in which PlayStation carried Sony on its shoulders are behind us and now the brand will have to get by with what it has.


Sony’s opposition, led by Jim Ryan, to the Activision acquisition is resulting in an exhausting process that has exposed the reality of the PlayStation business and its desperate attempt to maintain the current state of affairs. Sadly, we see that the brand decided to build on someone else’s terrain and cement its recent success in call of duty and the third-parties that leave the greatest economic spillover. In the end, the environment is tilted towards the triumph of Microsoft, and perhaps we have to start thinking about the damage that PlayStation did to itself, thinking about an immediate reaction and a process of reconstruction of the concept that puts in the center to PlayStation Studios and the almost 30-year history of the brand, even if that means falling from the top.

VIDEO: Without Call of Duty there are no exclusives

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