Microsoft has repeatedly said that it will not take Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox if it purchases Activision Blizzard. But now it’s saying that if it did, it wouldn’t be a big deal.
According to numbers shared with Axios, Microsoft has launched a counter-study to one the CMA did which estimated 15% of avid Call of Duty PlayStation players would switch to Xbox if the game became a Microsoft exclusive. Though that is “avid” players, those spending more than 10 hours a week or $100 on the game in the last year, while the number for “all” players is redacted.
Microsoft is not redacting its own, similar study. Its study says that only 3% of PlayStation players would switch from PlayStation to Xbox if Call of Duty was pulled from PS4/5. Though that number increases to 10.5% when you’re counting gamers who say Call of Duty is one of their top two favorite series.
Sony recently announced that 32 million PS5s have been sold, so 3% of that would be 960,000 players. Though I am skeptical of the full 3% of people saying they’d switch actually switching if it came down to it, as it’s one thing to answer a survey question saying you’d switch console platforms, and another to then literally spend $400-500 to do so when faced with the decision.
So let’s say what, half of that number actually follows through, that’s less than half a million people hopping the fence to Xbox (and of course this excludes intermediate steps like keeping your PlayStation and buying a cheap Series S or just subscribing to PC Game Pass). Is Microsoft really going to drop an exclusivity nuke for half a million people to switch sides in a console generation where we’ll see 50-100 million console sales on each side? The point its trying to make is no, no they wouldn’t.
Rumor has it the EU is already convinced by Microsoft’s latest moves of offering contracts to Nintendo and NVIDIA (and Sony, which has rejected them), but the UK and the US’s FTC remain obstacles. While obviously all sides are presenting data to make their own case look good, I do believe Microsoft’s assertion here that a very tiny percentage of PlayStation players would fully abandon the console for Call of Duty alone.
And that this point, it would severely damage not just Xbox, but Microsoft as a whole, if it made all these promises and went back on its word and took Call of Duty exclusive after all. That would have ramifications for the entire company and their future purchases, as you could point to them lying here and not believe what was being said the next time around. In this case, I believe them.
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Microsoft has recently claimed that only 3% of PlayStation players would switch consoles for an exclusive version of the popular game ‘Call of Duty’.
The company made the statement while responding to Sony’s reveal of a new version of ‘Call of Duty’ exclusive to their PlayStation 4 console. For years, Sony has been able to leverage exclusive titles as a way of making their PlayStation systems stand out from the competition and attract more gamers, but Microsoft’s statement indicates that the strategy may not be as effective anymore.
While exclusive titles can be very attractive for gamers, Microsoft’s research — which was shared in a statement to The Verge — claims that in the case of ‘Call of Duty’, only 3% of PlayStation players would be willing to switch consoles to get their hands on the exclusive version. Rather, the company believes that high quality multiplatform experiences are the foundations of any successful gaming ecosystem.
Microsoft’s Executive VP Gaming Phil Spencer went on to explain that “At Xbox, our focus has always been on expanding the gaming experience across console generations, platforms, and gaming genres. That principle has never been more relevant than it is right now, as we work to give gamers the freedom, choice, and opportunity to play their favorite games anywhere.”
Despite Sony’s continued success in the console gaming market, Microsoft’s statement may change the approach towards exclusivity and serve as a strong reminder of the importance of delivering high quality multiplatform experiences within the gaming industry.