Sony doesn't think it could make a Call of Duty rival

Daniel Sims

Posts: 580   +21
Staff
Why it matters: A primary concern surrounding Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard is the potential effect of making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox and Windows. Sony recently expressed those fears to Brazil's competition regulator. The company's comments illuminate what it thinks truly makes a AAA game.

Sony has voiced its apprehensions over the Microsoft Activision deal to Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), one of many competition regulators from across the globe scrutinizing the purchase for anti-competitive behavior. If Activision stopped releasing Call of Duty games for PlayStation, Sony doesn't think it could replace the franchise with its own game.

Microsoft's agreement to buy Activision Blizzard – the biggest of its recent acquisitions – faces review from the American Federal Trade Commission, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, and over a dozen other regulators in countries like Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, and Brazil.

Brazil's CADE makes the information from its investigations publicly accessible, including interviews with various game companies about how acquisitions might affect the whole industry. The documents are in Brazilian Portuguese, but a Resetera poster claiming to be an IT lawyer offered a summarized translation.

Sony told the CADE that while AAA games on Call of Duty's production scale can come from a few other companies such as itself, EA, Take-Two, or Epic Games, none of them could replicate Call of Duty. The PlayStation maker thinks Call of Duty's fanbase is so entrenched that even if another publisher made a similar game, it couldn't reproduce the Call of Duty brand.

Sony also thinks an exclusive Call of Duty would affect customers' console choice. The company admits the series is one of the largest sources of revenue from third-party publishers on PlayStation but redacts the exact numbers, so it isn't clear how much money Sony could lose if it lost Call of Duty.

Microsoft pledged that any currently-in-development multiplatform Activision Blizzard projects would remain so upon release. That includes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II -- launching on October 28 -- Warzone 2, Diablo 4, and other upcoming games. This is unsurprising, as other significant Microsoft acquisitions like Minecraft still support non-Microsoft platforms.

In February, Microsoft said it won't necessarily keep future projects exclusive to Xbox and Windows either, including Call of Duty. This week, it reiterated that sentiment to New Zealand's competition regulator. However, it stated that none of Activision Blizzard's franchises would be irreplaceable were they to leave the platforms of Microsoft's competitors.

In addition to the warning from Sony, the CADE received responses from companies including Warner Bros., Ubisoft, Nuuvem, Bandai Namco, Apple, Riot Games, Amazon, Google, and Meta regarding Microsoft's acquisition. Google thinks Activision Blizzard games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft are replaceable, citing Battlefield and Lost Ark as respective rivals, and Riot agrees. These companies also shared their opinions on what comprises the game market and in what capacity PC, console, and mobile compete.

The Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal could receive approval as soon as August.

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dirtyferret

Posts: 796   +1,086
Gamers: We are so tired of all these remakes and series, why can't anyone make an original game?
Developers: How about a FPS set in the civil war?
Gamers: fine, just make sure its just as polished as CoD with the exact same game style and no bugs!
Developers: So you want to make it just like CoD but different?
Gamers: Yes!
Developers: That makes no sense.
Gamers: Yes it does, just do it.
Developers: Why not just make CoD Civil War?
Gamers: OMG, where can I pre-order that!
Developers:...but you just said....never mind.
Gamers: You still get killer machine guns right?
Developers:...history was not a strong subject for you?...yeah sure you can have killer machine guns and snipers for sick head shots.
 

nodfor

Posts: 288   +493
<< The Best Place to Play

PlayStation 4 players can jump into Special Ops: Survival, an exclusive* wave-based horde mode. And each Modern Warfare season will bring a new location to Survival, as well as a special Challenge Mission and reward for other game modes.
*Timed Exclusive Content Until Oct. 1, 2020.>>

The above is the reason I didn't buy Call of Duty Modern Warfare.
Now sony cries about the dangers of exclusivity?
I hope M$ takes all the titles it can off PS.
 

Impudicus

Posts: 271   +278
I feel like these AAA game devs are not able to create something outside the box, and have to stick with what is known to work. The amount of time and money to develop a game has seems to have created a low risk, low innovation take on development. We see new ideas come from small indie companies that have success, PUBG, escape from tarkov... Then AAA companies develop their own take once it's a proven to be profitable.
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 424   +327
Battlefield was the major competitor to CoD and EA/DICE blew it in spectacular fashion with BF2042. What's even more sad is that Battlefield is my favorite franchise.
This ^^. I still think BF1 and BF5 could be improved upon including better anti cheat protection along with tighter hitboxes and re-released.
 

dangh

Posts: 673   +1,047
Actually, Sony said:
"No other developer can devote the same level of resources and expertise to game development. Even if they could, Call of Duty is heavily entrenched, so that no rival - no matter how relevant - can overtake it. Call of Duty has been the top-selling game for nearly every year over the past decade, and for its genre, it's overwhelmingly the best-selling game. It is synonymous with first-person shooters and essentially defines that category."

So no, they didn't say they can't do it, they said no one can do it, and explained why. It is difficult to argue with this statement.
And the title is kinda misleading as well.

I'm all for healthy competition, but acquisition of Activision will lead to huge imbalance and further focus on gaas. Getting biggest fps franchise which for nearly 10 years straight tips the charts is all but healthy competition, and that's just one of many IPs they will get with acti. Peter Moore just confirmed MS encouraged console wars to cover rrod issue, and they kinda continue same path.
 

McMurdeR

Posts: 569   +734
I'm not sold on the arguement. Gamer's have flocked to all kinds of franchises over the years. COD is popular at the moment, and the fact that it's available on all platforms is a crucial factor in it's success.

In any case my own opinion is that the days of the big studio franchises are numbered. Most of them have become big lumbering black holes of talent, that are struggling to execute because they've gotten too big to keep up with the cultural zeitgeist. There's a reason why they're all looking to get bought out - they know the jig is up. Gaming and media culture has been cruising on franchises for quite a while, and they've already been scraping the bottom of the barrel for a couple of years. It's only a matter of time before culture shifts back into a period of hyper creativity, and as long as the big publishers are hobbled to their fast buck chasing shareholders, they won't be able to manuver quick enough to keep up. That's not optimism, it's truth - it happens every two or three generations and it will happen again before long. And all the cool kids will think COD, and even PlayStation and Xbox for that matter, is for has-beens and old people.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,523   +5,933
Actually, Sony said:
"No other developer can devote the same level of resources and expertise to game development. Even if they could, Call of Duty is heavily entrenched, so that no rival - no matter how relevant - can overtake it. Call of Duty has been the top-selling game for nearly every year over the past decade, and for its genre, it's overwhelmingly the best-selling game. It is synonymous with first-person shooters and essentially defines that category."

So no, they didn't say they can't do it, they said no one can do it, and explained why. It is difficult to argue with this statement.
And the title is kinda misleading as well.

I'm all for healthy competition, but acquisition of Activision will lead to huge imbalance and further focus on gaas. Getting biggest fps franchise which for nearly 10 years straight tips the charts is all but healthy competition, and that's just one of many IPs they will get with acti. Peter Moore just confirmed MS encouraged console wars to cover rrod issue, and they kinda continue same path.
Funny, all those arguments could be made for nintendo's NES and the mario games, or the playstation/playstation 2.

COD will never face competition if nobody is willing to try. And there is absolutely a good market there, battlefield was doing great until EA railroaded it into the ground. Halo was doing great until 343 puked on its legacy. Killzone had tons of promise before being left to wither on the sony vine.

Maybe if sony is so worried about making competitive games, its time for them to drop out of the market? Doesnt really seem like their heart and soul are in it anymore. Perhaps they would be happier making as many TLOU2 Drunklemann fantasy knockoffs as they can.
Gamers: We are so tired of all these remakes and series, why can't anyone make an original game?
Developers: How about a FPS set in the civil war?
Gamers: fine, just make sure its just as polished as CoD with the exact same game style and no bugs!
Developers: So you want to make it just like CoD but different?
Gamers: Yes!
Developers: That makes no sense.
Gamers: Yes it does, just do it.
Developers: Why not just make CoD Civil War?
Gamers: OMG, where can I pre-order that!
Developers:...but you just said....never mind.
Gamers: You still get killer machine guns right?
Developers:...history was not a strong subject for you?...yeah sure you can have killer machine guns and snipers for sick head shots.
More like:
Developers: Hey you guys want a shooter set in the 1800s?
Games: Sure, maybe?
Developers: It will be more story based with supernatural elements set in steampunk england
Gamers: Ohhh, sounds intriguing.
Developers: There will be retro-futuristic weaponry and powerful werewolves that take strategy to kill, and a twisting narrative where nobody can be trusted
Gamers OOOHH!
Developers: And then we'll tease it with a 4 player cover for a single player game, a 3.5 hour story, and like 3 total copy pasted werewolves and 500 billion cockney throwaways.
Gamers: uuhhhh....eh?

1886 was dropped on its head and bludgeoned by an army's worth of maces. Gamers were excited for an interesting new game only to get a quicktime infested linear story with obvious plot twists, and gamers were immediately dogpiled for complaining it was "different", because "different" in this case meant poorly thought out and poorly executed gameplay elements from the late 2000s.
 

eforce

Posts: 1,025   +1,477
CoD caters to the lowest common denominator, Sony would be better off making quality games that are actually worth the money.
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 424   +327
CoD caters to the lowest common denominator, Sony would be better off making quality games that are actually worth the money.
CoD is a pure first person shooter game and first person shooter gamers are at the top of the gaming ladder. Hand eye coordination, frames per second count, etc .. unlike those games with wizards, dwarves, goblins and magical fairy dust.
 

Inthenstus

Posts: 125   +178
Sony has been king of console exclusive since its launch, and now its complaining about console exclusives? Must hurt to be on the other side of the fence. Sorry Sony, we don’t care. Microsoft owning Blizzard will make our games better.
 

PEnnn

Posts: 858   +1,029
CoD caters to the lowest common denominator, Sony would be better off making quality games that are actually worth the money.

I have to disagree. CoD is the crown jewel and the epitome of FPS. It rules when it comes to story / plot, voice acting, weaponry, variety, playabillity, graphics, sound production, friendly learning curves, etc. And that explains the immense number of copies sold.

Nothing else comes even close. Well, maybe Battlefield, before they ruined it.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,875   +4,370
Call of Duty is literally "Generic FPS - The Game". People play it on a controller FFS. I do agree that its brand is big and that is the hardest thing to recreate but Sony can't just do nothing.
 

Versutus

Posts: 68   +44
Call of Duty is literally "Generic FPS - The Game". People play it on a controller FFS. I do agree that its brand is big and that is the hardest thing to recreate but Sony can't just do nothing.

It is true. It is the Generic FPS - The Game. But not because it is literally generic, but because it is the norm, the etalon. If people talk about FPS games CoD is the first subject of the talk. The first episode was a new norm in the mainstream FPS genre, and the whole franchise built on that.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,875   +4,370
It is true. It is the Generic FPS - The Game. But not because it is literally generic, but because it is the norm, the etalon. If people talk about FPS games CoD is the first subject of the talk. The first episode was a new norm in the mainstream FPS genre, and the whole franchise built on that.
The first FPS I think of is Counter-Strike, something everyone I know who is into FPS games played first.
 

McMurdeR

Posts: 569   +734
CoD is a pure first person shooter game and first person shooter gamers are at the top of the gaming ladder. Hand eye coordination, frames per second count, etc .. unlike those games with wizards, dwarves, goblins and magical fairy dust.

Fair enough, but its no less derivative than any of those..
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,625   +830
Call of Duty is literally "Generic FPS - The Game". People play it on a controller FFS. I do agree that its brand is big and that is the hardest thing to recreate but Sony can't just do nothing.
Generic is simple. Simple means good, good for all kinds of people to like.
The key to success and having millions of fans is simplicity. Fortnight, COD, they all know this.
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,875   +4,370
Generic is simple. Simple means good, good for all kinds of people to like.
The key to success and having millions of fans is simplicity. Fortnight, COD, they all know this.
Generic is not simple. Whether simple is good for the game depends on the game.