While there are plenty of disingenuous arguments on all sides of the debate around Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision, the more time goes on, the more it seems like Sony specifically is starting to lose the plot.
Microsoft is increasingly trying to paint itself as the reasonable party, offering decade-long contracts for Call of Duty to its rivals, including Sony, and using data to try to explain why no, they’re not suddenly going to take the series exclusive.
Sony’s arguments in contrast are…getting pretty absurd. Here’s a new one this past week:
“For example, Microsoft might release a PlayStation version of Call of Duty where bugs and errors emerge only on the game’s final level or after later updates. Even if such degradations could be swiftly detected, any remedy would likely come too late, by which time the gaming community would have lost confidence in PlayStation as a go-to venue to play Call of Duty. Indeed, as Modern Warfare 2 attests, Call of Duty is most often purchased in just the first few weeks of release. If it becomes known that the game’s performance on PlayStation was worse than Xbox, Call of Duty gamers could decide to switch to Xbox, for fear of playing their favorite game at a second-class or class competitive venue.”
To be clear, what Sony is accusing Microsoft of here is having the potential to actively sabotage the PlayStation version of Call of Duty with bugs and errors. That is probably the most unhinged argument I’ve heard during this entire process, and given where we are, that’s really saying something. Not only would Microsoft be literally insane to try something like that, it’s honestly insane for Sony to suggest it as a genuine possibility. This says to me that Sony is running out of legitimate arguments here if there are turning toward actual conspiracies.
And that’s not all. Yesterday, outspoken Activision CCO Lulu Cheng Meservery relayed what she says is a closed-door quote by Sony’s Jim Ryan, which he said during the private meeting in Brussels early this month:
“I don’t want to do a new Call of Duty deal. I just want to block your merger.”
It’s not clear if that’s an exact quote or paraphrasing, but the fact that she’s out there saying he said that is a new pointed criticism I haven’t seen before. While it’s true that yes, of course Sony is trying to block the Microsoft deal, hence why any of this is happening in the first place, you wouldn’t just say that out loud.
As I’ve said previously, Sony has no reason to take any Microsoft deal as doing so would likely be a huge point of evidence to get the acquisition approved, though I will say the longer this goes on, the more Sony seems like they are permanently damaging industry relationships. Sony and Microsoft have long liked to pretend the console wars aren’t real on the corporate level, but if you ever needed evidence that they absolutely are, look no further.
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Sony’s gaming console arm is facing criticism for its decision to limit the transferability of Xbox Activision games, resulting in a series of protests that have been occurring since last month.
The deal in question was unveiled in October and involves a major new agreement between Sony, Microsoft and Activision that would limit players’ ability to move Xbox Activision games from one console to another. This means that players who purchase a new Xbox Activision title will not be able to transfer the digital ownership of that title to another console.
The protests have been organized by the gaming community, who argue that Sony’s decision to limit the transferability of Xbox Activision games goes against the spirit of gaming and the real-money purchase of these titles. They have voiced their concerns of the decision and its potential impactif it becomes widespread, warning people not to buy any Xbox Activision games until the issue is addressed.
The issue has become so widespread that Sony has been forced to respond, noting that the agreement was designed to ensure that only users who purchase a game are able to use it and that the decision to limit the transferability of Xbox Activision games was not intended to limit the overall experience for customers.
However, the criticism does not seem to be subsiding and Sony is currently facing an ongoing campaign of protests. The situation is likely to remain unresolved until Sony publicly address the concerns and brings forward a solution that is satisfactory to both gamers and the gaming community.
Whatever Sony decides to do, it will be interesting to see how it responds to the situation in the long term and whether it will be willing to make any changes to its current agreement. In the meantime, the gaming community will continue to voice its opposition until a solution is put forward.