By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Close
Microsoft Says Activision Blizzard Acquisition is Not Anti-Competitive in Response to Sony

Microsoft Says Activision Blizzard Acquisition is Not Anti-Competitive in Response to Sony - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 10 August 2022 / 4,357 Views

Sony recently spoke with Brazil's regulatory body about Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard and said Call of Duty is an important IP for PlayStation and it is a franchise that "influences users' console choice."

Sony essentially claimed the Activision Blizzard acquisition is anti-competitive as it could influence people to switch from PlayStation to Xbox and said the Call of Duty series is on its own level of popularity and it is has been the "overwhelmingly the best-selling game" for its genre.

Microsoft has now responded to Sony's claims, according to a user on ResetEra who translated Microsoft's response.

"Not surprisingly, Sony was the only third party to convey public opinion materially different from MS/ABK and the third parties regarding the competitive analysis of the transaction," reads Microsoft's response.

Microsoft Says Activision Blizzard Acquisition is Not Anti-Competitive in Response to Sony

Microsoft says that Sony does not want to see Call of Duty available on Xbox Game Pass on day one as Sony doesn't want to compete with the service.

"In short, Sony is not resigned to having to compete with Microsoft's subscription service," states Microsoft. "Sony's public outcry on subscription games and the company's response are clear: Sony doesn't want attractive subscription services to threaten its dominance in the market for digital distribution of console games. In other words, Sony rails against the introduction of new monetization models capable of challenging its business model."

Microsoft in response to Sony's claim that Call of Duty is its own separate market from all other categories said, "Sony is limited to commenting on Call of Duty's brand strength and loyalty and engagement. However, claiming that Call of Duty has a loyal following is a premise from which the conclusion that the game is a 'category of games in itself; does not follow.

"The PlayStation itself has a foundation established by players loyal to the brand. This finding, however, does not lead to the conclusion that the PlayStation – or any branded product with loyal consumers – is a separate market from all other consoles. Extrapolating from such a finding, the extreme conclusion that Call of Duty is a 'game category in itself' is simply unjustifiable under any quantitative or qualitative analysis."

Microsoft showed data that only two Activision Blizzard games ranked in the top 20 best-selling console games of 2021 that included notable franchises from third-party developers and exclusives from PlayStation and Nintendo.

This means Microsoft believes that Call of Duty is just one of a wide range of best-selling games that includes multiple titles that are not even available on Xbox consoles.

Microsoft Says Activision Blizzard Acquisition is Not Anti-Competitive in Response to Sony

Sony in its initial response mentioned that over the past five years, Xbox Game Pass has grown to capture around 60 to 70 percent of the worldwide subscription services market. Sony believes it would take "several years" for a competitor to create a rival for Xbox Game Pass, even with substantial investments.

Microsoft says Sony contradicted itself as they said Xbox Game Pass has grown over the past five years to be a success, which is without having any Activision Blizzard titles available on the service. This means that having titles like Call of Duty would not be essential for a competitor to become as popular.

Microsoft says that the Nintendo Switch despite not having Call of Duty titles has been a huge success for Nintendo.

The reasons discussed by Microsoft means they feel Sony is being apprehensive about the increased competition once the Activision Blizzard deal closes, rather than a worry about Microsoft becoming anti-competitive.

Microsoft goes on to list five reasons against Sony's claims that adding Activision Blizzard titles to Xbox Game Pass would lead to an unattainable lead in subscription services for Microsoft.

  1. it is not part of Microsoft's strategy to remove content from players. Call of Duty will still be on PlayStation as a buy-to-play title.
  2. The data shows that players see subscription services like Xbox Game Pass as just one of many ways to pay to play games.
  3. Sony's claim that Xbox Game Pass could lead to an unattainable lead ignores "the dynamic nature of these services" and the "the relevant presence of Sony itself in this space. "
  4. Reason four has been totally redacted.
  5. There is strong competition, rival game distribution channels, including console stores and subscription services, that already have access to Activision Blizzard games, including exclusive content not available to Microsoft consumers.

Microsoft Says Activision Blizzard Acquisition is Not Anti-Competitive in Response to Sony

Microsoft added that the "New PlayStation Plus" is considered a rival to Xbox Game Pass in the industry and "the use of exclusive arrangements has been at the heart of Sony's strategy to strengthen its presence in the gaming industry."

Along with its first-party lineup, Sony has entered agreements with third-party publishers to ensure some games release as exclusives at launch on PlayStation consoles.

Microsoft sees Sony's claims as a "fear regarding an innovative business model that offers high quality content at low costs to players, threatening a leadership that was forged from a device-centric strategy and focused on exclusivity throughout of years."

Microsoft added that not releasing Activision Blizzard games on rival console stores would not be profitable for Microsoft as it would only be profitable if enough people who play Activision Blizzard games would join the Xbox console ecosystem.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.


More Articles

33 Comments
carlos710 (on 10 August 2022)

Weird to see MS in the winning side of an argument, but yeah, they destroyed sony here.

  • +22
2zosteven (on 10 August 2022)

Sony acquisitions
4 February 1982 Music Center Incorporated Professional audio USA Sony Professional Products [1]
5 January 1988 CBS Records Group Music USA $2,000,000,000 Sony Music Entertainment [2]
8 November 1989 Columbia Pictures Entertainment Movies/Television USA $3,400,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [3]
9 November 1989 Guber-Peters Entertainment Movies/Television USA $200,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [4][5]
21 May 1993 Psygnosis Video Game UK Sony Interactive Entertainment [6]
1 December 2000 Bend Studio Video Game USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [7]
22 January 2001 Naughty Dog Video Game USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [8]
9 July 2002 Acuff-Rose Music Music publishing USA $157,000,000 Sony Music Publishing [9]
7 August 2002 Incognito Entertainment Video Game USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [10]
27 September 2002 Aiwa Electronics JPN Sony Electronics [11]
7 December 2005 Guerrilla Games Video Game NED Sony Interactive Entertainment [12]
25 January 2006 Zipper Interactive Video Game USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [13]
23 August 2006 Crackle Video On Demand USA $65,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [14]
15 May 2007 Sigil Games Online Inc Video Game USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [15]
30 May 2007 Famous Music Music publishing USA $370,000,000 Sony Music Publishing [16][17]
20 September 2007 Evolution Studios, Bigbig Studios Video Game UK Sony Interactive Entertainment [18]
2 July 2008 Gracenote Media Management USA $260,000,000 Sony Corporation of America [19][20]
1 October 2008 Sony BMG Music JPN GER $1,200,000,000 Sony Music Entertainment [21][22][23]
5 December 2008 Sony NEC Optiarc Computer storage JPN Sony Optiarc [24]
28 January 2010 Convergent Media Systems Corporation Video Integration USA Sony Electronics [25]
10 February 2010 iCyt Mission Technology Flow cytometers USA Sony Corporation of America [26]
2 March 2010 Media Molecule Video Game UK Sony Interactive Entertainment [27][28]
28 February 2011 Toshiba chip plant Image sensor JPN Sony Semiconductor Solutions [29]
7 March 2011 Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd Electronics UK Sony Electronics [30]
2 August 2011 Sucker Punch Productions Video Game USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [31]
28 September 2011 Micronics, Inc. Microfluidics-based diagnostic tools USA Sony Corporation of America [32]
16 February 2012 Sony Ericsson Mobile Phones JPN SWE $1,500,000,000 Sony Mobile [33]
2 July 2012 Gaikai Cloud gaming USA $380,000,000 Sony Interactive Entertainment [34]
9 August 2012 So-net Information and communication JPN Sony Mobile [35]
23 August 2012 Left Bank Pictures Film and television production USA Sony Pictures Entertainment [36]
12 September 2012 Pixim Electronics USA Sony Electronics [37]
15 August 2014 CSC Media Group Television UK $180,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [38][39]
24 April 2015 Wakanim Film and television distribution FRA Aniplex [40][41]
2 July 2015 Memnon Archiving Services Archiving BEL Sony Europe [42]
24 August 2015 Century Media Records Music GER $20,000,000 Sony Music Entertainment [43]
8 October 2015 Softkinetic Electronics BEL Sony Electronics [44]
6 December 2015 Toshiba image sensor business Image sensor JPN $155,000,000 Sony Semiconductor Solutions [45]
26 January 2016 Altair Semiconductor Electronics ISR $212,000,000 Sony Electronics [46]
16 February 2016 Plumbee Games/Television UK Sony Pictures Entertainment [47]
2 August 2016 eSATURNUS NV Clinical Video BEL Sony Europe [48]
10 August 2016 Ministry Of Sound Music UK Sony Music Entertainment [49]
31 August 2016 Ten Sports Television IND $385,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [50]
31 July 2017 Funimation Video streaming service, film and television distribution USA $143,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [51][52]
22 May 2018 EMI Music Publishing Music publishing UK $2,300,000,000 Sony Music Publishing [53]
8 January 2019 Audiokinetic Video Game CAN Sony Interactive Entertainment [54]
6 February 2019 Madman Anime Group Film and television distribution AUS $25,000,000 Aniplex [55]
29 May 2019 Manga Entertainment Ltd. Film and television distribution UK Sony Pictures Entertainment [56]
10 June 2019 Mido Holdings Network virtualization SWI Sony Semiconductor Solutions [57]
8 July 2019 Nurulize Movies/Virtual Reality USA Sony Pictures Entertainment [58]
19 August 2019 Insomniac Games Video Game USA $229,000,000 Sony Interactive Entertainment [59]
18 November 2019 Game Show Network Basic cable channel USA $500,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment [60]
2 September 2020 Sony Financial Holdings Financial services business JPN $3,700,000,000 Sony Financial Group [61][62]
1 October 2020 Nevion IP media and cloud NOR Sony Electronics [63]
12 November 2020 Pure Flix SVOD Service Movie / Television USA Sony Pictures Entertainment [64]
1 February 2021 AWAL, Kobalt Neighboring Rights (from Kobalt Music Group) Music USA $430,000,000 Sony Music Entertainment [65][66]
18 March 2021 Evolution Championship Series (EVO) Esports USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [67]
16 June 2021 Somethin' Else Content and strategy across TV, radio, online video, social media, games UK Sony Music Entertainment [68]
29 June 2021 Housemarque Video Game FIN Sony Interactive Entertainment [69]
1 July 2021 Nixxes Software Video Game NED Sony Interactive Entertainment [70]
9 August 2021 Crunchyroll Video streaming service USA $1,175,000,000 Sony Pictures Entertainment/Aniplex [71][72]
8 September 2021 Firesprite Video Game UK Sony Interactive Entertainment [73]
29 September 2021 Fabrik Games Video Game UK Sony Interactive Entertainment [73]
30 September 2021 Bluepoint Games Video Game USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [74]
4 November 2021 Som Livre Music BRA $255,000,000 Sony Music Entertainment [75][76]
1 December 2021 Bad Wolf Television UK Sony Pictures Entertainment [77]
10 December 2021 Valkyrie Entertainment Video Game USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [78]
1 February 2022 Lasengle (gaming division of DelightWorks) Video Game JPN Aniplex [79]
21 March 2022 Haven Studios Video Game CAN Sony Interactive Entertainment [80]
15 July 2022 Bungie Video Game USA $3,700,000,000 Sony Interactive Entertainment [81][82]
18 July 2022 Repeat.gg Esports USA Sony Interactive Entertainment [83]
4 August 2022 Right Stuf E-commerce, home entertainment, video publishing and distribution USA Sony Pictures Entertainment/Aniplex

  • +12
Qwark 2zosteven (on 10 August 2022)

Yet the total amount isn't even near 70 billion. Which is all right, but buying a juggernaut isn't comparable to comparatively small fruit. Its like comparing a lot of small European countries (so excluding the big 5) against the US, naturally the US is still much more significant.

Also it's not like Microsoft only bought them in recent years. They bought quite a few smaller studio's,like Team Ninja, Obsidian games just before the start of this gen and they also bought Bethesda in its entirety. Microsoft is easily winning the acquisition war. Especially if you compare this against every company MS bought since a lot of the acquisitions mentioned above are not made by PlayStation itself.

  • -5
Azzanation Qwark (on 11 August 2022)

I believe the point being made here is Sony is no angle and do the exact same things, they just have less money to do it with.

  • +4
Hynad 2zosteven (on 10 August 2022)

Now, do the same with Microsoft.

  • -4
2zosteven Hynad (on 10 August 2022)

you sure? it is 10 times longer

  • +7
SuperNintend0rk 2zosteven (on 10 August 2022)

Please don't. For the sake of being able to easily scroll through the comments and my sanity lol

  • +8
2zosteven SuperNintend0rk (on 10 August 2022)

gotcha, lol

  • +5
Hynad 2zosteven (on 10 August 2022)

That was the point. ;)

  • -7
2zosteven Hynad (on 10 August 2022)

i got it, lol

  • +2
Comment was deleted...
Qwark (on 10 August 2022)

Sony doesn't want attractive subscription services to threaten its dominance in the market for digital distribution of console games. In other words, Sony rails against the introduction of new monetization models capable of challenging its business model.

Yeah like any other big company would not be thrilled about that. I bet Apple was also really thrilled about Android when it came out.

  • +9
Azzanation (on 11 August 2022)

Sony sound scared. They poked the wrong bear and it was only a matter of time before that bear got up. Competition is good. The top dog is now being pushed. Sounds like Sony heavily relied on Acti/Blizz to sell consoles. Remember Sony continued to stop games coming to Xbox for the past decade.

  • +8
yvanjean (on 10 August 2022)

Looks like this deal might get done in time to have all Call of Duty games available on Game Pass ready for Holiday 2022. Sony complaining about their lost revenues rather than making a valid anti-competitive argument against the deal.

  • +7
scrapking (on 11 August 2022)

We should make "Reason four has been totally redacted" a meme in the VGChartz comments on future articles! :D

  • +1
UteGuy (on 10 August 2022)

Microsoft is acting like they were transparent about what would or will happen with 3rd party games once the deal goes through, obviously they will be on Game Pass perpetually, but will they be on Sony's subscription service? I think making a purchase this large would have to have a giant return to justify it, and that might lead people to suspect some sort f exclusivity. The problem is we have no clear answer. With Sony/Bungie they were very explicitly clear that Bungie's current and future games will be able to be enjoyed on all platforms period. That is honestly how it should be , and how it should be stated.

  • 0
DeEscapist UteGuy (on 12 August 2022)

And Sony did that this way because...?

  • 0
V-r0cK (on 10 August 2022)

Just let it go Sony. If you are as great as you claim to be just find a way to bounce back, like when MS started taking away all of your exclusive games in Gen 7. And who knows, its very possible MS might make CoD worst hahaha

  • 0
KratosLives (on 10 August 2022)
  • -11
TallSilhouette (on 10 August 2022)
  • -13
DonFerrari (on 10 August 2022)
  • -19
Comment was deleted...