Sony has released a statement to UK regulatory body—the Competition and Markets Authority—saying that it believes Microsoft’s goal with the Activision Blizzard merger is to make PlayStation like Nintendo.
What Sony means by the statement is that, if the merger went through, Microsoft would stop releasing Call of Duty games on PlayStation platforms, essentially turning Sony into another Nintendo when it comes to competing in the market for 18-rated shooters.
The crux of Sony’s argument with this statement revolves around Microsoft’s statement that gaming platforms without Call of Duty games still succeed, with the latter company citing Nintendo as an example. Sony says that this claim by Microsoft “ignores the facts”, since Nintendo’s business model isn’t 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 SIE’s statement. “Microsoft wants PlayStation to become like Nintendo, so that it would be a less close and effective competitor to Xbox.
“Post-Transaction, Xbox would become the one-stop-shop for all the best-selling shooter franchises on console (Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, Doom, Overwatch), as the Decision explains, and it would then be free from serious competitive pressure.”
“Ignoring these facts, Microsoft argues that Nintendo has been successful without access to Call of Duty,” the statement continues. “This misses the point. The Decision identifies a wide body of evidence showing that Nintendo offers a differentiated experience to Xbox and PlayStation because it is focused on family-friendly games that are very different from PEGI 18 FPS games like Call of Duty.”
Sony also points out that, interestingly enough, Microsoft doesn’t track Nintendo as well as it tracks PlayStation in its internal documents when it comes to competitive assessment. This would indicate that Microsoft doesn’t really see Nintendo platforms as competition to Xbox the same way it sees PlayStation as competition.
“This is supported by Microsoft’s internal documents, which, so the CMA found, show that: ‘In general, Microsoft’s internal documents track PlayStation more closely than Nintendo, with Nintendo often being absent from any internal competitive assessment'”.
Microsoft is also currently facing greater scrutiny by EU’s regulatory body, the European Commission, about its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.