Microsoft's jaw-dropping acquisition of Activision Blizzard earlier this week has fundamentally changed the gaming landscape as we know it. The reported $68 billion buyout shows just how ridiculously deep Microsoft's pockets are — and that financial bulk is something that Sony simply cannot compete with.
It leaves the PlayStation maker in an unenviable position. Especially with the rampant success of the PS4, Sony has led the industry for so long that this megaton acquisition almost feels surreal — it is quite literally Microsoft buying its way to a future of potential market domination, and at this point, it's unrealistic to think that this is the end of the Redmond firm's spending.
But for the purposes of this poll, let's forget about the future. For now, we ask the question: what should Sony do at this moment in time? What can it do to strengthen PlayStation's place in the current gaming ecosystem?
We can start by looking at the facts. First off, it's easy to forget that the PS5 is selling extremely well, breaking records at launch and charting a trajectory that suggests immense popularity for years to come. And this is against the backdrop of a global pandemic, which continues to strangle the current-gen console's production. It's no secret that even a year after its release, the PS5 remains an elusive product for the average consumer — but that's not really something that Sony can rectify right now.
It's also no secret that the PS5's release schedule looks very, very strong in 2022. Exclusive titles like Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok are set to be critical and commercial hits, and will no doubt be yet more fine examples of Sony's first-party prowess. There's an argument to be made here that Sony should just stick to its guns and keep doing what it's doing — at least for now.
But there will be others who feel that Sony must make a move, and soon. Microsoft's cash-flashing will steer any and all conversations for the foreseeable future — but Sony could negate some of this momentum with a big announcement or two. Or three. Again, the Japanese giant is never going to be able to go toe-to-toe with Microsoft on a financial level, but it can still cater directly to its audience. Is it time to reveal that heavily rumoured PS Plus overhaul? Or would this new subscription service — suppsedly codenamed Spartacus — look downright desperate in the face of a $68 billion buyout by the company that seems hellbent on transforming gaming into Game Pass?
And then you've got the people who are already demanding that Sony buys up some AAA publishers of its own — a cheeky Capcom or suggestive Square Enix sounds like a sure-fire win to the casual onlooker. But as we know, this just isn't how Sony does business. Its whole model relies on supporting its first-party studios in order to create games that will draw people into the PlayStation ecosystem — a strategy that's supplemented by striking timed exclusivity deals with third party publishers. It's not console sales that drive Sony's profits — it's the money made through the PlayStation Store that has propelled the platform to the top over the last decade or so.
But, you could argue, that we now live in unprecedented times. Maybe Sony does have to alter its philosophy if it wants to maintain its throne. Perhaps it has little choice but to fight fire with fire — at least to some degree — in order to ensure that it's not left behind in what is a rapidly changing industry.
As far as we're concerned, all of this makes for a fascinating conversation — and so we want to know what you think. What should Sony do now? Does it have to respond to Microsoft's acquisition, or can it continue down its own path? Vote in our poll, and then elaborate on your thoughts in the comments section below.