Sony has issued a somewhat worrying statement to them, to the UK regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority. In the letter they affirm that they believe that the objective of Microsoft with the merger of Activision Blizzard is to make PlayStation become another Nintendo.
Reading between the lines, what Sony means by the statement is that if the merger goes through, Microsoft would at some point stop releasing Call of Duty games on PlayStation consoles. This situation would lead them to turn Sony into another Nintendo when it comes to competing in the market for first person shooters with a rating of 18. Let’s remember that Nintendo consoles haven’t released a modern Call of Duty for years.
The crux of Sony’s argument with this statement revolves around another statement by Microsoft that gaming platforms without Call of Duty games are still successful, with the latter company citing Nintendo as an example. Sony says this claim by Microsoft “ignores the facts” as Nintendo’s business model is not based on a reliance on 18-rated shooter franchises.
Microsoft claims that Nintendo’s differentiated model demonstrates that PlayStation doesn’t need Call of Duty to compete effectively. But this reveals Microsoft’s true strategy, says the SIE statement.
“Microsoft wants PlayStation to become like Nintendo, to be a less close and effective competitor to Xbox.
“After the transaction, Xbox would become the one-stop-shop for all the best-selling shooter franchises on the console (Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, Doom, Overwatch), as the Decision explains, and would then be free of serious competitive pressure.
“Ignoring these facts, Microsoft argues that Nintendo has succeeded without access to Call of Duty.”
The decision identifies a large body of evidence showing that Nintendo offers a differentiated experience to Xbox and PlayStation because it focuses on family-friendly games that are very different from PEGI 18 FPS games like Call of Duty.
Sony also notes that, interestingly, Microsoft doesn’t track Nintendo as well as it tracks PlayStation in its internal documents when it comes to competitive judging. This would indicate that Microsoft doesn’t really view Nintendo platforms as competition to Xbox in the same way that it views PlayStation as competition.
“This is supported by Microsoft’s internal documents, which, according to the CMA, show that: ‘In general, Microsoft’s internal documents track PlayStation more closely than Nintendo, and Nintendo is often absent from any internal competitive assessment.’ ”.
Microsoft is also currently facing increased scrutiny from the EU regulator, the European Commission, over its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Other recent statements from Sony allude to the fact that Battlefield cannot compete with Call of Duty.