We hope you're not bored of this yet, but it's time once again to talk about Microsoft's industry-shaking attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard. The deal, worth a ridiculous $69 billion, would see the company absorb ActiBlizz and all its intellectual property. The convergence of two such large publishers has caused concerns about antitrust, with Microsoft taking control of a vast number of hugely popular franchises — Call of Duty being the biggest among them.
Recently, North America's Federal Trade Commission made clear its reservations about the deal, summoning Microsoft to court in order to hear why the deal should be allowed and why it won't damage the competition. Sony, which has been squarely against the acquisition from the start, was issued a subpoena by Microsoft, requesting its presence at the hearing and certain documentation and information that may be pertinent to its case.
Now, it's come out that Sony made several appeals to restrict what information it would need to submit to court. Some of these requests were granted by the FTC, but most were denied. In a nutshell, Sony must submit:
- Details of all content licensing agreements (broadly exclusivity contracts) from January 2019 onwards
- Jim Ryan's declaration about the acquisition to the FTC, including all drafts
- Custodial records from January 2019 onwards
Obviously, Sony has had many agreements with third parties in which some or all content in a game is exclusive to PlayStation. Initially, Microsoft's request was for contracts dating back to 2012; Sony tried to withhold this information altogether, suggesting it wouldn't be relevant to the case and that it'd require digging through more than 150,000 contracts with over 60,000 companies. While the time scale has been reduced, it'll still be a heck of a lot of paperwork.
The court hearing is due to take place beginning 2nd August 2023, so there's still a long way to go before all this is over. As highlighted by GamesIndustry.biz, the European Commission and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority both have to submit their decision on whether or not they approve of the acquisition by the end of April. The aforementioned site has a more detailed report if you're interested in learning more.
Well this comment section should be fun
Sure, give a company that can buy you 20 times over all the strategy on your business dealings. That’s fine!
Also hear the EU are p****ing out and accepting irrelevant “concessions” from MS to allow their buying of a publisher larger than their current main competitor.
Couldn’t make it up. Toothless. Consolidation here we come!
Microsoft trying to learn how to succeed in the games industry lol
It’s not as if Microsoft don’t do the exact same thing. And signing timed exclusive, which they all do and just buying whole publishers is a whole different ball game
Looking forward to finding out the FF7 Remake exclusivity, it's bound to be there. Then we'll know why it hasn't been on Xbox and for how long it will be off of Xbox.
@Snake_V5 Yeah, I am still surprised that FF7 Remake is still not on Xbox after all these years.
And also what was given and paid. It’s not like Sony just pay for games to not hit a rival console, they provide support, expertise and motion capture platforms etc, to ease and assist in development, as well as marketing and advertising infrastructure.
It’s a sensible system to make sure a game comes to your platform first, optimised, and ensure that it isn’t designed from scratch with multiplatform in mind. This was it might just cost to much to port to another platform, especially one with a low instal base…
Would be so interested in MSs deals to get games to come to Gamepass day one and skip PS Extra…
@thefourfoldroot1 I wonder if it's exclusive to PlayStation until all 3 parts are released first maybe?
Sony might of avoided all this by taking that 10 year contract lol
I hope Sony doesn't get COD regardless of the deal going through or not.
I think Activision are fed up with them as well.
It's just one way traffic with Sony.
@Artois2 Sony is now arguing that exclusives are bad and will hurt their business. So they have themselves to blame… for basically chatting *****. Microsoft just called their bluff.
@thefourfoldroot1 really, because Sony spoke out themselves about “day ones” not being viable…
Doubtful, but possible. I just think there is not a big enough player base on Xbox, that don’t just use it as a Gamepass machine, to make it worth releasing the port as opposed to releasing the sequel faster.
@Leonhart if it goes through which it looks like it will I really expect Sony to buy a publisher like Square and take FF off Xbox for good
@Snake_V5 You wont. So far as i'm aware, the details won't be made public under a court injunction.
I agree it would be interesting, but i do think in many cases the financial package from Sony will be less than people assume. I think the wider support they offer will also be key factors in this. Wasn't Street Fighter 5 only possible due to Sony funding?
That isnt to say there won't be obscene money hatting at play. But if Sony have to do this, Microsoft should have to do the same. For instance, how much are they paying to get titles on game pass. How much did they drop sega to make Yakuza 7 a timed next gen exclusive, the infamous Tomb Raider deal etc
That was first party they were talking about, they do sometimes release third party day one.
Besides, what is viable for Sony is completely different to what is viable for MS. MS can just keep burning cash until all their competitors have lost their customers and folded, then buy up the scraps. It’s been their MO for nearly half a century as the regulators know. They won’t change. Nor do they have any moral obligation to as long as they are operating within these “rules”.
@Total_Weirdo Although Sony will keep COD, Given their marketing is up in 2024, I don't think you'll see them get the marketing for a COD game again after.
@Anthony_Daniels Square would be pointless - They don't put anything on Xbox anyway.
I don't see how it's fair for Sony to give out their business dealings when it's on MS to prove that buying Activision doesn't give them an unfair advantage.
So far they haven't proven that they aren't going to take legacy IPs away from PlayStation outside this ten year CoD deal (which isn't enough).
Exclusivity is rubbish, consolidation of the industry is rubbish, paying to make a rival platform worse rather than investing in your own is rubbish, paying to get hold parts of a game to your platform is rubbish, not allowing cross-play is rubbish and so are loads and loads of other things about this industry.
I'm not sure why anyone decides to support one side or another when they are both out to screw as much money out of you as possible.
@Total_Weirdo I really dont get what's wrong with Sony trying to protect their own business interests. That's been the strange narrative in this whole thing. They are looking out for their bottom line, and the money they get from COD gets reinvested in their first party. Why wouldnt they object.
Activision execs might be fed up with Sony holding things up. They are looking forward to the money they will make when the sale goes through. Their execs have behaved like absolute children, like that daft twitter post by their EVP of Corp Affairs.
And then there is Microsoft with their silly graphs completely trying to mislead the regulators by leaving out nintendo.
Everyone is looking bad here. Sooner its over the better
So you want Sony, a company 20 times smaller than MS, to lose billions?
I don’t like Sony, my personal view is that they are a myopic, arguably racist organisation, who have ruined more than a few games I would have enjoyed and are pivoting to an always online live service future I detest. If it wasn’t for PSVR2, and my large catalogue of games locked to their walled garden prison, I would never have bought the PS5 and would likely be a PC gamer by now.
Nevertheless, even I can see that competition is the most important thing for consumers, and if Sony lose all these billions, considering they wouldn’t be able to keep up with further MS acquisitions as is, well, that’s bad in so many ways for us.
@AdamNovice while I agree that Microsoft should be put under the same scrutiny for their deals I believe in this instance it is because Sony are the ones contesting the deal the burden of proof is on them. Whether they can subsequently request similar details from Microsoft I don't know.
This info coming out is on Sony and they obviously knew this was coming.
I just don't understand the people who get so worked up about exclusives, what would gaming even be without them? I understand Microsoft has abandoned trying to make good exclusives and is simply trying to buy their place in the industry but without Sony & Nintendo's exclusives, gaming would be a live service joke!
If the argument from MS is that Sony engage in unfair industry shackling practices, then I’m sure Sony could argue that MS do the same and so their practices are required for their continued competitiveness. I wouldn’t be surprised if MS had to air their business practices in this area also to prove any type of harm to themselves.
I don't see what PlayStations tiny exclusivity deals have to do with huge acquisitions. Do they actually think small exclusivity deals and huge acquisitions are of the same level. Oh because PlayStation has a tiny exclusive gun or a tiny little level in Hogwarts Legacy now means Microsoft are allowed the green light for scooping up multiple hundreds of 3rd party games. Funny
Paying many millions per 3rd party game to be day one on GamePass is no different to any exclusivity deals PS does
So enjoying how Nintendo are just sitting back chilling with the Switch and BOTW2 and Mario Movie, being all self independent etc.
And also get some sort of ten year deal out of it just for a laugh 😆
It’s insane we’re even having this conversation after the Bethesda purchase. The fact that every game that was in development like Starfield, Hifi Rush, Etc prior to the deal is now exclusive to Xbox and GamePass says it all. That to me is much worse than Sony just buying a timed one year exclusivity. Microsoft even did something with Tomb Raider years ago.
@KaijuKaiser I'm glad somebody gets it
I say just block all purchases of gaming companies (unless it helps keep that company Alive and kicking)
@JSnow2 the industry needs both Sony and Nintendo.
Is MS algo giving theirs too?
@Happymoogle I got my popcorn and drinks with me right now and we can watch this drama unfold together!!!
Sony are just better when it comes to running a business, they don't need to spend over 70 billion to get good games. All these timed exclusive deals do their job and are costing sony way less in the process compared to buying publishers left right and centre.
All I know, if this goes through, there is no reason Sony should be blocked of buying a Publisher.
I don't think Square alone will make Sony happy.
@GodofCapcom yeah I'd like them to get capcom as well, and cd projekt red as they need that big Western rpg to fill the elders scrolls hole.
@UltimateOtaku91 70 billion will get Microsoft revenue from COD, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush etc. so not really comparable… and not really an “un”smart business decision…
Consolidation is bad. Also, if Sony get into a gunfight with MS they’ll lose big time.
Best thing is for it to be decided nobody can buy a publisher that effectively buys them a large section of the market. Which is what these regulators are meant to be doing!
Eurogamer reporting that the EU have passed the deal. I think they have been fooled personally, but hey, what do i know 🤷♂️
As ive said all along, Sony absolutely need to use the time they have left with Activision properties to develop high quality alternatives that they are ready to launch by 2030.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, I'm actually quite surprised that companies like EA aren't opposing this. It can be assumed that the nearest direct competitor to Call Of Duty is Battlefield. With a purchase of Activision, Microsoft will be able to drop those on to Game Pass for "free", and meanwhile EA either has the take the big loss of initial sales by putting their new games on to EA Access to give them for "free", or forever be number two on the basis their product will be less attractive to customers.
@IAmAshCohen17 Square Enix dropped the entire series of Kingdom Hearts on to Game Pass not so long ago. Never heard anything since, so I've idea whether they were a success or not. Although since then, Star Ocean, DioField, Balan Wonderworld and Crisis Core have set foot on Xbox consoles. I don't think people realise the sheer number of games Squenix actually shifts!
@Cutmastavictory They said that about Atari and Sega as well.
But but but but but they have Spiderman that's not fair 😭. Insomniac Games wasn't even half a billion, a game studio that released over 90% of its games exclusively on PlayStation anyways, longtime before the acquisition. Theres a massive difference between spending almost 77 billion compared to less than half a billion. OK what about Bungie at 3 and a half billion, remains 3rd party for all. Need I say anymore
I can't wait for the day we have a set of 5 companies that supply all our needs! One for food, one for technology, one for housing etc.
We won't own anything they supply us either. It's much better to rent and be at their mercy! Subbed Game Pass, Netflix, Hello Fresh and your local Council for your housing, travel and child permits ♥️
This world really is heading towards a Cyberpunk-esque dystopian future... 😂 Or does my hesitancy to let people with too much power over us to have ALL the money + control make me a conspiracy theorist?..
@BeerIsAwesome Pretty sure EA see it as a big opportunity to increase their market share on Playstation with Battlefield (assuming they haven't destroyed the franchise with 2042)
@BeerIsAwesome saying something and saying a true something are different.
@Rob_230 Was going to say the same thing - For EA it's a golden opportunity to push BF on PlayStation. Hell, get some of those Sony engineers over to help them make it a super polished product and position it as a compelling FPS title again.
@Loamy what you're saying is closer to the truth than you realize.
@Cutmastavictory Maybe. With all this posturing and posing from the gruesome twosome, I would happily go back to Sega in an instant if they dropped a new console tomorrow.
@Rob_230 I'm not so sure. Microsoft can posture all they like with the Call Of Duty thing, but even without signing a deal, Call Of Duty will be on PlayStation forever. Microsoft likes money too much to let that golden donkey go. EA may just be better off selling out themselves to Microsoft. They have been generally closer aligned to them over the years.
@Cutmastavictory Oh no, I certainly realise. The UK is going this way for sure.
We have the 5 eyes program to spy on our own citizens. We have corporations like Microsoft, Google and Apple dominating the tech markets (with massive political weight). We have less and less potential to own land or housing, only to rent. We have a war-dependent economy that funds the media's propaganda output. We have people conditioned to support 'pro-lethal aid' (e.g. missiles and weapons) rallies rather than protesting for peace. We have people campaigning for completely niche minority rights instead of standing against any of these important issues that effect everybody and, while they have noble intent, they ironically cause more conflict and separation.
I'm not into conspiracy stuff but it's all pretty damn "dystopian" already tbh. It's an odd world we live in, eh?
@thefourfoldroot1 Sony's business practices aren't what's on trial though. Sony are arguing that the acquisition will have a detrimental effect on their business and Microsoft are attempting to counter that and say that it will merely close the gap. I'd expect that while they have been granted access to the documents there will be some pretty strict restrictions on what they are permitted to bring up and use as evidence as only details that are relative to the respective arguments would be allowed.
Sony can and probably will appeal it. The US legal system unlike Continental Europe os opaque and byzantine. Probably the result is MS buys Bobby Kotick's company and neither side sees the others data.
@Rob_230 “Activision properties to develop high quality alternatives that they are ready to launch by 2030.”
Sony already had high quality CoD alternatives in socom, resistance and killzone, and they killed them all.
@BeerIsAwesome That's the thing with this, all of Activisions DIRECT competitors seem more than fine with it. Why? It eliminates one of their RIVALS and folds it into the hands of one of their PARTNERS who won't use the organization to compete AGAINST them so much as be symbiotic WITH them. MS is much more likely to arrange CoD releases and Battlefield releases, for example, so that they both have a fair chance to chart, because it benefits MS to have both franshies maximize sales rather than Activision that's more interested in cutting Battlefield's install base to beat it. Additionally, if it skews anything toward Xbox it increases their own sales potential with Battlefield on PS for example. So the whole deal is a big boon to EA, Ubi, etc.
@thefourfoldroot1 It's funny, because we have polar opposite views of how this affects the industry at large, yet we have the same starting view of wanting the same results out of it...
@Shstrick I mean Dead Rising and Oblivion came out before the PS3 was out so are you just listing random games that didn’t release at the same time on PS?
Hopefully regulators are taking into account Microsoft clearly has the money and the will to keep buying publishers and stops it now. They already took Bethesda off the board two years ago. Right now, they are showing their willingness to buy a publisher every two years all in service of weakening their competitors.
I do wonder how many publishers Microsoft will need to acquire to catch up with PlayStation, since it's clearly not fair how things were going in the least few years.
If Activision/Blizz doesn't turn them into the market leader, what the next excuse will be? It not fair that Sony has Santa Monica, Naughty Dog and other major studios?
Anyway, even as a daily Call Of Duty player, better Act/Blizz than Square, Capcom or any other publisher that has a longer history with PlayStation the fan base.
I'm bored of this mess. Too much drama.
@K1LLEGAL haha you’re right there 😅. Just gonna go ahead and delete that
I’m just ready for this end. One way or another.
We are becoming the world of 1984.
And weirdly enough, the world of Metal Gear Solid 2.
I know, it’s strange. I just generally come from a position where I consider the current status quo ideal. You have David vs Goliath in Sony vs MS, but Sony have the connections and nous to punch far above their weight. MS meanwhile are willing to lose some of their incomprehensible wealth to stay in the fight, and keep improving a loss making service (well, if you take into account opportunity cost).
This is all good as far as I’m concerned, and if we could freeze this current moment in time I would, with Nintendo finding their niche in the portable market.
What this deal represents is a tipping point though. If MS learn that they can just buy all the successful games and eat loses until their competitors have to fold or massively reduce their offerings…well, goodbye competitiveness.
MS being able to say it’s good because more people get these games overall (in completely irrelevant ecosystems) and they are offering their competitor a bone for the next blink of a business eye (10hrs, sorry, years) is a very weak argument that these regulators seem to be swallowing while MS hide Gamepass under their coat.
@ED_209 not having COD on PS could be enough. Part of Sony’s initial argument was that COD sells more copies on PS each year than all of their first party games combined multiple times over and that money gets funneled back to first party studios. Not having the revenue from COD could potentially cripple development of first party games. We can expect to see massive dips in quality from PS Studios games going forward
@thefourfoldroot1 sony's a racist organization? How'd you figure that?
Double standards when dealing with Japanese and western game content and developers. But I’d prefer not to derail the thread with a discussion about that because that’s what usually happens. It’s debatable as I said, just sick of debating it lol.
So what's the point of this? Is Microsoft's master plan going to be "look at all the exclusive deals Sony makes? Why can't we make this one?" As if anything Sony has done could ever be on the same level as acquiring Activision Blizzard.
It isn't about quality(unfortunately), it's about how much they sell
@UltimateOtaku91 yeah that’s why Microsoft is a 2 trillion dollar company and Sony almost went bankrupt a few years ago right?
I'm a PC-only Linux gamer and I used to root for Microsoft because they promised all their games on PC, but stuff like this really makes me think Microsoft are overstepping their boundaries with demands like this.
@thefourfoldroot1 I think the difference in our view is that I generally agree with the first part, but the roles are reversed. In the gaming market, Sony is Goliath, not David. I know the parent company is obviously a different setup ,but in this market, that's the landscape. And Sony itself misses no opportunity to boast that perspective directly, as well.
So for me, an opportunity to balance the scales better improves the landscape across the board, and my concern is that it does the opposite and overbalances it toward MS' side, meaning PS gets weaker and MS gets too powerful/abusive. I don't think the status quo right now is actually good. Sony has too much power by far in the industry and nobody wins from that other than their select handmaiden business partners. So I'm in favor of whatever leans on the scale to balance that better, but cautious about anything that can overbalance it and tip the scale in the other direction.
What I'm undecided on is if this deal is more likely to do the former, or latter, so I'm both for it, but also concerned about it.
@Shstrick i wouldn't be worried about the quality. Companies aren't stupid, they don't make worst thinking worst will sell the same when they already have the data about what sells. Even games that people don't like, like Days Gone have great quality the problem is the idea behind them and in the other extreme games like Returnal that are smaller and don't have the same budget as other first party have been great. So no, quality will never be a problem.
If there is a lack of budget (that tbh it won't happen this generation because the MS deal will be finished by the middle of the generation) it will reflect in the quantity of said exclusives.
@Snake_V5 details on the FF7 remake deal might not included. This will likely be based on when the deal was signed, not the date of the game release, and these deals are usually signed years in advance. It’s possible any deal done for the Intergrade release is there, unless it was signed before FF7 even released, something that is not out of the realm of possibilities.
Think this is why Microsoft wanted to go all the way to 2019, so they could get details on any game releases in the last 5 years.
I feel like if blessed that the only franchise I care about losing to XBOX is Elder Scrolls. I don’t play any of the other games that may become XBOX exclusive.
I think many of us are tired of the Activision Blizzard deal, I am curious if Sony will reach a deal with Microsoft before the August 2nd date. I’m also curious what information will come out if they don’t reach an agreement and Sony is forced to supply the information granted.
We all know, included Sony, that deal is going to happen. Activision was the one who went to MS and sell, they want that money and laws won't stop that.
It won't affect this generation because it will be finished too deep into the ps5 sales and it's not like people are suddenly going to buy a 500 new console so they won't purchase a 70 game, that's not how people work. We don't know if MS will make another xbox when clearly their focus is the service and no the hardware so until that happens this is getting boring.
I just want to see how they are going to respond to the pressure.
@GymratAmarillo I’m not really following on the quality argument. Less money means fewer animators to make fluid animations, more simplified or generic music, fewer engineers working on optimization, smaller, less detailed worlds, shorter development time. Sony games aren’t cheap to make and they don’t have piles of cash to burn. When the money they make from COD is cut off they’ll start making cuts immediately or risk going defunct.
Please correct me if I’m way off course 😅.
Edit: just saw your newest comment and it clarifies things. I still think Sony first party games quality will take a hit, but I agree with everything else you said
@NEStalgia You mean to say that the company that has a long and sordid history of squeezing out it's competition, big and small, is suddenly going to throw EA a bone, when potential Call Of Duty customers could be lost to Battlefield? I very much doubt it. People play those games online all year round, so losing 100% of the money to a competitor that will give you 30% back (or however much the storefront cut is), is probably not something Microsoft will want at any time of the year.
@AdamCorela Sony bank rub? where did you get that nonsense? Reddit for sure. Sony has had a few bad years behind them. read: no profit. But they never stood on the edge of the abyss. But you can't compare Sony to Microsoft. Sony operates in a completely different branch of sport than MS. If Sony had developed an operating system that 98% of the world (must) use, Sony would probably have been worth much more. But Sony is making good profits these days. You shouldn't be talking nonsense about something that doesn't apply
No games would make me buy an Xbox so couldn't really care less
Buying ABK is not balancing the scales though, it’s completely obliterating the scales and grinding them into dust. ABK are a larger publisher than Sony. MS are literally buying someone larger than their only direct competitor and claiming this creates more balance!
MS can be nothing other than the giant in this situation. Perhaps you’d prefer to think of them as a sleeping giant, just starting to wake from its slumber. Previously MS hadn’t committed to simply buying out the market but, with the subscription model in their sights, requiring up front investment, they are trying to flex their monopolistic muscles in this industry as they have in others. I’m hoping they won’t be allowed to do so.
This is the last acquired publisher by MS so I'm not worried about a money gunfight. Xbox lost 3 and got a tie (if you don't count the wii) in 4 generations even with all that money. Fortnite didn't come from a trillion dollar company.
Sony will sue and win if they aren't allowed to buy 1 or 2 mid size publishers if this goes through. They will get 1 or 2 publishers if this goes through. Blame xbox, because sony was fine with what they had for studios, but losing 2 publishers will change their minds. I'm thinking Square and Capcom would be the targets. They have the closest relationship with them atm.
And they can def buy both. Take two bought Zynga, a company almost as valuable as them.
@Beerheadgamer82 Day one on GP deals doesn’t take the game off PS consoles, it’s simply a perk to GP members. Seems different to me and i own both a PS5 and Series X.
@thefourfoldroot1 I'm not sure I agree. I'm not positive I totally disagree either, though. Which is why I'm on the fence. I think there's far too much overestimation of just how big a shift the ABK purchase gives them because of the same CoD obession Sony has overplayed, ABK may be a larger publisher in terms of staff size, but the majority of it is focused on making a single game and another good chunk makes PC-only games that don't even compete with Sony. And King is the real money behind their revenues, even CoD can't touch it after expenses in producing it. I don't think MS intends to keep it that way, but that's what they get out of the box and anything else is their own creation.
For Sony, CoD itself and it's mtx is the be-all-end-all in revenue. And they can't see outside their own bubble of CoD dependence. ABK may be "larger" than PS Studios, but, most of that size does nothing but a single franchise plus games competing in other markets not relevant in the console space.
But I don't believe MS's goal here is "buying the market", I think they have targeted goals for making their subscription much more broadly adopted and shifting the business model before their other rivals do. I think they see a one time deal for a massive purchase virtually nobody else could buy that buys them an unlimited money pump in King, comes with loads of experienced talent to build the content they intend to build for their subscription, and CoD happens to be included as a free bonus. Nor do I believe this acquisition would accomplish buying the industry anyway. They'd have done better buying Square + Ubisoft + someone else for that money if that was the goal. I don' think they have any plan of "buying up gaming" - but that's, again, a difference from our perspectives that diverge somewhat on this. If I thought that was the goal, I'd lean harder toward against.
Make no mistake, this deal is 75% about ketting King. 20% about getting a huge boat of prepped and ready talent to make games and some IP, and 5% about getting the burden of CoD they have to buy for fortunes in order to get the former.
That said, I also don't want them to settle into Sony's rut of "we have CoD money and King money so we don't need to dry anymore" which has me worried. And I don't want the tit for tat consolidation war to start up with Sony either where companies that make more than CoD, mobile and PC games start consolidating behind walled gardens.
@BeerIsAwesome Microsoft's endgame isn't to make the most dollars selling CoD as possible. Just as Sony's endgame isn't to make the most dollars selling Uncharted as possible. For both of them, the endgame is to use those "big name" products to make their STORE/ecosystem people's go-to ecosytem. For Activision, CoD sales are the goal. For Microsoft, CoD is just a means to an end, and not very likely their main objective.
Activision as-is needs to compete directly with EA and try to fight over sales. MS is the platform, the storefront, their goal isn't maximizing their single game sales, it's positioning their storefronts as the place customers want to be. (Which is the same way Sony is using it as well.)
Even for mighty Nintendo, even back in the NES era, the real money was never from selling Mario. Mario is just what brought people in the door to buy everything else on their machine. The 30% royalties have always been the big goal, because that's 30% with no investment, every dollar is raw profit.
This is why EA's partnership with Nintendo over Origin as the storefront breaking down killed their relationship, and this is why Valve has basically had to make no games for decades short of something here or there, because the store is the goal, and they have the biggest store.
Sony's playing that same game, but I don't think fans have really caught onto that shift for them yet. They used to be focused on unit sales and hardware sales themselves more, but that was their old model. You can see the signs in their investor reports and their push for GaaS.
@ArcticSin Sony has been quoted 300 times in these court deals, so it is smart for MS to say show me the proof. If you didn’t run a red light and got a ticket, wouldn’t you want to see the camera footage of you stopping at the red light? It’s your right to say show me the footage, MS is doing what anyone in court would do. Show us and the judge the action in which you are against and what proof you have that it is different or bad from what you do. Sorry maybe a bad example with the red light, but anyone would ask to see the proof and know what it is that sony is so against so maybe they can work a deal in the middle to make it work for both sides.
People who cry about spiderman make my eyes roll.
They own the movie rights. They can do whatever the hell they want lol. Exchange that for game exclusivity.
@GodofCapcom this time i agree with you, ownership of a property should matter, and Sony shouldn’t have to do anything they don’t want with their investments, this is the part you won’t like and thats neither should MS. If MS owns something, it’s totally their right to use it however they see fit. They don’t owe Sony a dang thing. All these people that thing MS has to share because they are worth 2 trillion dollars is the eye roll for me. Did Sony share with Sega? No and they shouldn’t have. spider-man is owned and paid for with Sony dollars and that game should 100% be a PS exclusive. People need to grow up and realize when money is involved not everyone get’s to have their cake and eat it too.
@TheCollector316 it’s the industry that is for Sale that is the issue. MS just happens to be in a great position to buy larger than Sony, Bungie was for sale and sony had no issues buying them and i am glad they did. I think it will help them and I think MS buying games and making GP it’s killer feature for the next 10 years is smart business and will attract new users decades from now that see all these games on a service. Both Sony and MS have plenty of paying customers to make sure they both eat just fine. The real issue i think some people have is they thought after Xbox One MS was going to just go to sleep and be out of the picture and what they are seeing now is a hungry company that isn’t going away and that concerns people cause of course a focused MS will use money and their infrastructure to their advantage. The same way Sony used its money and infrastructure to their advantage to pass up Sega and Nintendo.
I don't think ABK's is on the same level of a few Spider-Man games. That's also on Disney's part. Not MS with MS.
Well… Sony entered the industry by buying one of the largest European Developers at the time, Psygnosis, which eventually evolved into SCE Liverpool. Granted they had little console presence, but they were HUGE on Atari ST, Amiga, and PC during the late 80s and early 90s.
But I get your point. Sony has historically refrained from buying huge publishing houses. They tend to pick up smaller developers.
@Tharsman Silly question but what's the purpose of Microsoft knowing all the arrangements and agreements etc that Sony has made with all these 3rd party developers anyway? So they can what? Bring those games now to Xbox?
And technically they only own the movie rights. All other depictions of the character are owned by Marvel and by extension Disney.
Marvel initially went to Microsoft to develop a new Spider-Man game. They turned it down and Marvel/Disney went to Sony as their second choice, who turned it over to Insomniac (who was independent at the time) to develop while Sony published.
Microsoft is entirely to blame for why the Spider-Man franchise hasn’t returned to Xbox. Had they wanted to, they could have done the exact same thing Sony did. Insomniac was fully independent at the time; they had actually just finished Sunset Overdrive exclusively for the Xbone when they got the offer from Sony to develop Spider-Man PS4.
And if you haven’t played Sunset Overdrive, I will say that Spider-Man PS4 shares a TON with that game. If anything, Spider-Man PS4 is a spiritual sequel.
MS obviously leverages their deep pockets to try to get advantages in some areas of the market. But it’s a safe bet that Sony leverages their superior market share advantage to get cheaper and better 3rd party deals and exclusives. Not surprising that they’d be asked to show the details of these deals so the regulating body can compare.
@Snake_V5 so they can likely bring arguments like Sony using its market leader position in anti-competitive ways, using that weight to secure more favorable contracts that harm competitors, and stuff like that. Also to reinforce a history of blocking features and content or access to GamePass presence even being negotiated.
Given Sony claims so much feature parity in, and access to, tentpole titles is so vital, it would help Microsoft’s case if they find proof of Sony making contracts that deny Microsoft said content.
Is Microsoft aware that Microsoft also goes out and gets timed exclusive deals as well?
The central truth is that neither Microsoft or Sony have clean hands when it comes to their platforms.
Just like every other tech company out there in the world.
It's been 5 years since they bought those e3 2018 studios, and none of then have their AAA gameplay ready... gears 5 was on 2019. Halo Infinite took a whole gen to be made and it died.
They are trying to use Sony's marketshare as an excuse for the deal because of their misses in their last two generations. It's so embarassing, and it would be more if they still can't compete with ABK on their belt, which they're still smaller than playstation in revenue and that would be less if they decide to cut revenue from abK on ps consoles.
Sony will get another publisher and they will be left out again. It's a cycle that should be stopped and MS should just compete with the biggest amount of studios any console holder has.
Well, I think this is 90% about COD, because it is about making Gamepass essential. king money simply drives the price up. If it wasn’t for that and blizzards relative success then Sony could have even bought them. King is just the part that ensures MS are the only one of the 3 that can afford the deal.
For MS King is an investment that will pay off over time, but it will not grow anything. COD grows Gamepass, and that is MS’s goal.
They want the future to be subscription as they know that they are the only one of the three that can afford all the content needed to make that model successful and they will thus drive almost all casual gamers to their platform (especially when streaming infrastructure improves). They don’t even care about the hardcore gamers who are almost impossible to please. Just joe casual who hardly notices that the monthly sum is more than they used to pay for COD annually, because it’s only a trickle.
@Tharsman Thanks for explaining.
I think MS should just be fine with Blizzard and King and let Activision go.
Wow, Starcraft, Diablo and Overwatch are still things good for MS. Will give them an edge on PC... and mobile with King.
They absolutely did yes. And from a moral and even entertainment point of view I’d therefore like this tit for tat comeuppance. But I’m selfish, and mainly care about its impact on the gaming industry because I feel it will massively restrict competition in the medium to long term (say from 5-10 years max).
@GodofCapcom would agree if COD was going exclusive but it’s not. Highly doubt a game like Tony hawk would either, they don’t sell enough to keep them to one platform. I could see them bringing back Guitar Hero and making the songs and expansions free to GP members but again Spider-man is a 20-25 million seller, nothing outside of COD is other than Candy Crush which is what MS wants, the mobile money. It’s not Sony’s fault Spider-man sells good based off its name. They shouldn’t have to share cause it’s popular. I own a PS for a handful of exclusives, yes i buy a $400 dollar console for around 4-5 games cause i know i want to play them and they aren’t coming to another platforms outside of PC and i don’t game on PC.
I don't trust the 10 year thing. They might sabotage the ps version is someway
Oh, I've been bored of this for months now. I was curious about the headline, but honestly this whole saga is beyond ridiculous at this point. I understand it was going to take some time given how huge this acquisition is, but at the same time this would have been so much better if the process was much quicker. Even if I was an Xbox fan, I probably wouldn't care at this point.
@Beerheadgamer82 The reason for this debacle is that Sony is arguing that Microsoft is extremely dangerous to their market position, while Microsoft is claiming that Sony won't be in any danger. This acquisition is ridiculous and while I genuinely agree and frankly disapprove of MS trying to just buy third parties to make them 'first party' (Halo Infinite went wonderfully! Such brilliance!) without any showcase of their internal games being good (Fable? Elder Scrolls? Avowed?), Sony is being extremely difficult with this. Reboot Killzone if you want to compete with COD! These regulators just want to ensure that the narratives are true and without exaggeration. Sony has done far more of the exaggerating this run of litigation, and it's about to bite them in the bum.
But yes, everyone looks infantile and very stupid in this situation.
Well this just got very interesting all of sudden 🙂 can't wait to see those third party deals and the amounts paid! Is obviously going to look terrible if it shows that Sony is paying so Final Fantasy doesn't go to Xbox.
I'd love it if a big new player entered the console market & knocked everyone's socks off.
Let these children fight until the end of time, who gives a ***** anymore
To the people tired of reading about it.. how about not reading about it? I know it's a wild idea but still..
It's a huge change and I'm glad it's getting so much discussion.
Microsoft buying huge companies and sony buying 3rd party studios is different.buying a single studio.and Microsoft buying the whole publisher is different.microsoft cant beat sony so its trying to buy a lot of studio.and sony is still beating Microsoft.word up son
@GodofCapcom not with a legal contract they won’t and think of it this way, MS knows the negative PR that would do for them. That would stop them dead in their tracks for future legal deals for Xbox and maybe even Microsoft as a whole. So i tend to take the positive outlook over the negative in this deal. This is the largest deal in gaming history, it will have eyes on it for over a decade, it’s smart business to do it right and have the legal contracts in place to ensure parity.
Negative PR does *****.
All that matters are games. There is less than 5% of gamers that care if Sony or Xbox are dishonest. They just want good games.l, rural bandit.
@UltimateOtaku91 enough already.
@GodofCapcom negative PR in the industry hurts them with deals and not being honest to their commitments GODofplaystation will hinder them from buying more studios in the future and that is not good. Sony and MS will both continue to buy studios after this deal and that is great for us gamers. Strengthens their first party output and gets games on services that otherwise might not have been. Win win and there are less than 5% of gamers that don’t whine about the industry and think only one box (the one they bought) should be allowed to do anything. This deal will be closing soon and i so hope i can play Diablo 4 on GP. Unless they release a steel box Physical copy, i would snag that.
@Green-Bandit I love how short sighted gamers are. Sony and MS buying up the gaming world is not good for us in the long run nor is it healthy for gaming. MS end goal is Gamepass and everyone on it, they're desperate for it to be on PS and Switch and its only a matter of time before Gamepass exclusive games start appearing and big price hikes for it happen and MTX become worse. This Activision deal benifits MS and MS alone and anyone who thinks otherwise is very naive.
Sure. Gamers will sure love to have less options of third party games to play on one console because they need to buy two.
Multiple consoles should be for the more hardcorr audience. The majority people should be able to play cod, gta, resident evil, doom, elderscrolls, batman, final fantasy on their preferred consoles and let the exclusives do the talking.
We are not making more games, we're just moving them. That is not a pro.
I just want to know how long this Final Fantasy deal is going to last, but tbh I wish we’d find out how long any exclusive deal lasts for like for shin megami tenses 5. I’d rather play on my platform of choice instead of wondering if it will even come to the platform at all, where I could be missing out on playing a game entirely if I’m stuck waiting for a game to ps5. Look at something like Dragon quest treasures or Live a Live, there’s no reason they can’t be on PlayStation but we have literally no idea if they will be ported to other systems at all. I really don’t want to be forced to play these game on a severely outdated platform, struggling to run some of these game at even 30 fps.
@GodofCapcom most of those are big games and are on both platforms, minus Sony keeping FF and Xbox looking like they will keep Elder Scrolls, i mean trust me i am all for gamers having access to as many games as possible. But if there are 3 consoles, a PC and mobile. It’s unlikely that you will get 100% of the games buying just one of those. It be nice, and i am with you to a degree, but i see the business side of it, and I largely agree with MS’s take, if it is a game with a large population of players on different consoles, keep that game on those platforms, otherwise it’s just a ugly move to those players. But if it’s a new IP and not a live service game then by all means keep it exclusive. Like come on don’t pull crash bandicoot away from Switch and PS owners and i am not saying they will, but keep the new IP’s as a driver for GP and Xbox. Same with Sony, keep Destiny on all platforms, but if Bungie makes a new IP and they keep it as a PS5 exclusive, i am all good with that.
@WallyWest spending 69 Billion dollars should benefit that company, so i am not understanding that being a bad thing. I think MS and Sony buying up devs is a good thing and again it’s ok to have different opinions and wishes for the future of the industry, so not saying anyone needs to agree. But i don’t like amazon, Google or many other larger companies that much and i enjoy seeing the Big 3 cement their place in the industry for a long long time. At this pace the big 3 will be around until the end, owning this much of the industry. I like something from all 3 consoles at the moment and i think as long as Sony and MS continue to have content coming that gamers want, they will be here for us to enjoy their offerings and that makes me happy. I do not want to play COD on a PS controller ever and i don’t want to play God of War on a PC or some cloud service. I want PS and Xbox consoles for those experiences and i hope they are both around for a long long time 😀
Sick of hearing about this. Just want it to end.
"Recently, North America's Federal Trade Commission made clear its reservations about the deal, summoning Microsoft to court in order to hear why the deal should be allowed and why it won't damage the competition."
Funny how Misrosoft acquiring a company has the FTC up in arms, yet the FTC let's Disney run amok and acquire almost every television and movie IP in existence.
I guess MS is less reluctant to grease palms as apposed to Disney.
I've been dying to see for years the money Sony has paid for exclusive games and other content deals. Remember Soul Caliber 3 being a PS2 exclusive, despite 2 selling best on Gamecube?
Then there's the COD exclusive stuff.
Edit: Street Fighter 5, same deal. Randomly (console) exclusive for seemingly no reason.
FF16 being exclusive has been incredibly suspect since day 1, as well as Silent Hill 2's ambiguous situation at the moment.
Sony has a lot of secrets to answer for. They have a stellar track record of seemingly trying to buy exclusive content. Pushsquare, its hyper-partisan cringworthy staff, and the vocal hardcore base here say nothing, yet when M$ does it, suddenly it's evil, terrible and wrong? GMAFB. And keep in mind, I generally dislike massive corporate takeovers, but if its going to happen, at least apply a consistent ideological position, regardless of who's acting suspect.
Not that they'll happen,but since Microsoft is suddenly so interested in disclosures,it'd be interesting to see a comparative breakdown not only of what they pay to different publishers on gamepass deals but also any exclusivity they might stipulate that's been part of their inclusion- since Phil Spencer keeps pushing the narrative its only Sony.
Likewise,a full disclosure on how much Microsoft has bankrolled gamepass to undercut rival services,as pretty sure if the Xbox division were sold off as a separate entity,(or they come to dominate the console scene like they do Operating Systems & cloud & other services), you could kiss those $1 upgrade deals goodbye!
Unfortunately,always felt M$ will ultimately get away with the deal,but its bad for gaming when a 2trillion plus revenue company can keep buying up all the major 3rd party AAA publishers it wants just to keep them off rival platforms whilst crying foul about "competition",when its company history has been a catalogue of monopoly dominance!😕
Different administrations. The current FTC leadership has an anti-big-corporation mindset. Not making any personal judgements on thad being good or bad, but it’s why Disney went through its equally big Fox acquisition. Had Disney attempted that this year, they likely would had faced similar reaction from the FTC. Similarly, had the ABK Activision been done in 2020, or hell even 2015, it would had likely gone through uneventfully (in the US).
I don't quite get the relevance of all this.
It's not Sony acquiring Activision.
Sounds like Microsoft just wants to make a show of it.
@Robocod Never forget Microsoft is guilty of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
@Nem Yes they are and they are just being nasty because they can't force sony to publicly support this bs.
@thefourfoldroot1 And that's the thing, I think it's basically 0% about cod for ms (and 100% cod for Sony and regulators.). Largely it's about timing really. Abk is up for grabs and less than a dozen companies in the world could afford them and Ms just so happened to want to expand their gaming revenue. Mostly it's about King. EVERYONE would want to buy King. But if you want it you have to buy everything. And nobody else could afford it and those that could like apple aren't interesting in cod or pc games. King is literally a money press. It's worth multiples of what cod is worth in profits after costs. King is the crown jewel here make no mistake.
However ms is uniquely able to leverage blizzard pc pedigree for growing the windows store against steam and egs. And yes pc gp which is their biggest growth area in subscription. And yes it's also about leveraging a ton of new studios to crank out content for gp. Oh, and it comes with that cod thing... That's just it, I truly don't think cod is the reason for it or a terribly important part of the deal to them. It means EVERYTHING to Sony and their revenue says why. For MS it's kind of baggage. Here's the thing cod on game pass will be a big marketing boon for sure. But cod players already on ps are unlikely to just sell their PS5 and buy an xsx and pay $180 a year just to play the cod game that costs $70 a year . Sure it's a plus, but a cod loyalist is MOSTLY playing cod. Subscription doesn't work well for single game online gamers. It works best for players that play many games. I think more people will play cod if it's on the service, but I don't think existing cod buyers will choose platform based on that, and Ms knows that. Phil's said The same about gp and big service games not being a great fit for years. One may or may not trust what Phil says but he's just saying that obvious on record there.
The cod centric view is kind of short sighted on Sonys part and only makes sense if you haven't really been following ms model and strategy in gaming. Their main strategy is basically to merge pc/mobile/console/cloud gaming into a unified platform, not to rule consoles specifically.
Now, that DOES put Sony in a bind, because it makes their games model as obsolete as their music model they fought and lost. And that's their biggest worry. Not that ms will dominate in console but that they will normalize subscription even if it shifts gaming away from consoles for a large market.
The ms presidents comments about who knows if consoles will be around in 10 in years or what form factor they'll take, maybe a phone or tablet says a lot about their take on consoles. They'll make them as long as there's a market for them. But they see apple, and let's be real, Nintendo too, moving the form factor ever towards mobile devices and it's not hard to imagine an iSlab being the main console in a decade.
Or Oculus. Just saying....
“ I truly don't think cod is the reason for it or a terribly important part of the deal to them. It means EVERYTHING to Sony and their revenue says why. For MS it's kind of baggage. Here's the thing cod on game pass will be a big marketing boon for sure. But cod players already on ps are unlikely to just sell their PS5 and buy an xsx ”
I don’t get this view honestly. You can’t say it means everything to Sony’s profitability , and so continued competitiveness, but say this means nothing to MS. MS are of course massively concerned with knocking out their main competitor.
You say people won’t sell their PS5 for an SX, and that’s obviously true, but we are only at 30% capacity in console sales this gen at best, plus if MS have to wait 10yrs for the benefits to come out that’s nothing in business terms.
You are correct that MS want the console market to be replaced by the subscription market - and it largely will be. Which brings us to the idea that content is king, and is why the richest player shouldn’t just be able to buy all the content during the formative years of this transition. MS justify it by pointing to sales of a loss making plastic box as if that will have a large relevance to the subscription market.
@AdamNovice The Bethesda acquisition should be a good idea what they will do with COD and other IP's. Nintendo had nothing to lose only to gain COD was never a big deal for Nintendo anyway.
@AdamNovice Sony does not care about other legacy IPs. The did not mention them once in their arguments when they tried to block this deal. That should tell you all you need to know.
They don't care about Crash, about Spyro, about Overwatch, about Diablo. They only care about Call of Duty.
"And then there is Microsoft with their silly graphs completely trying to mislead the regulators by leaving out nintendo."
Please stop. Microsoft did not mislead regulators by "leaving out Nintendo."
Microsoft used market definition that was used by regulators. Regulators (and Sony) wanted to exclude Nintendo and they created "high-performance console segment" that is only Xbox and PlayStation. Sony wanted to exclude Nintendo, so they can could repeat at nauseam that Call of Duty is crucial for existence of console platform (because Switch success are saying exact opposite). Regulators agreed and Microsoft is just using market definition as provided by regulators.
It's funny to complain about raising prices when Microsoft will "swallow gaming" when Sony was first who raised prices of console and first-party games. Ironic, isn't it?
Even with ABK, Microsoft will have probably 10% of gaming market which isn't that huge.
Everybody is crying about consolidation, but the fact is that I have never seen so many new "AAA" studios pop up as in last few years. Which is telling you everything you need to know. How can you consolidate gaming industry, when 4 people can create a game that sold 8 million copies? (Valheim).
I don't think that Microsoft will pull COD from PlayStation (even without contract), but even if they did, all that it will cause is make empty space on PlayStation FPS market that will be filled by another game.
@Godot25 If Sony didn't do a price hike first then MS would have. What you're ignoring is this sooner or later GP will see GP only games meaning you can only play them if you sub to GP, once MS have got people used to this idea they will raise the price of GP and people will be forced to pay it if they want to play X game. This may be speculation but this is the stuff MS is known for and slowly the X1 original plan is taking hold but just coated with sugar.
@WallyWest You are strangely using your own speculation and presenting it as a fact.
Nothing ever hinted that we would see "Game Pass only games." You can't even do it, because huge chunk of players refuses to sign up to subscriptions no matter the value. So, do you have some insider info that is going to happen? It's same doomsday scenarios as Sony created when they argued that they can't compete without Call of Duty.
And about rasing prices. Sony raised prices in every market where they are dominating Xbox. In case of consoles of course. Don't you find interesting that only big market where they did not raise prices is only market that Xbox is giving them fight?
And about games, it literally does not matter what "would have happened." Matter is what happened. Sony lead the charge in raising prices of games. Microsoft (and others) followed when they saw that gamers don't mind paying more for their games.
The FTC case against the merger is basically 99% based on arguments made by Sony in opposition of the merger. As such, for their defense in the case, MS has requested everything they feel is relevant to prove or disprove Sonys legal claims.
The judge has agreed with Microsoft that most of the requests are indeed relevant, while denying the relevance of a couple of requests.
@Wheatly I wholeheartedly agree, people here jumping through hoops to distinguish between paid 3rd party exclusives or buying a publisher/studio but for us as the consumer, it boils down it being on your console of choice or not, regardless of how the deal was made
People can call me a PlayStation fanboy if they want but I think my track record of criticism for the company, on this website no less, and my defense of MS when the Rise of the Tomb Raider deal happened, speaks for itself.... The situations are not even close to the same. Third party timed or full exclusives deals have always existed. MS buying up huge publishers is bs and I'd be saying the same exact thing if Sony were doing this. It's a shame that after the Bethesda deal MS wasn't told 'that's enough.' What's more pathetic, MS has been buying studios and publishers left and right with squat to show for it.
@Gamer83 every case is different, nothing is "as simple as we getting exclusives or not".
Bethesda's case, they were not doing well. The quality of their games was going downhill in a search for MTX to save them, and as of late they were taking money to make games exclusives, something they had never done before. They were struggling financially and would had likely gone the way of the old THQ had MS not swooped in to buy them.
Do you think it would had been better for players, developers, and the industry all if Zenimax simply collapsed and was sold in chunks to random publishers, and have many of their teams simply disappear?
Activision is a different situation, but at least we know they wont be taking CoD away from anyone, in fact, this whole thing will bring CoD back to Nintendo platforms.
It's not like MS is going out there and forcing publishers to sell either, or doing hostile takeovers. The publishers they have gone for so far are ones that wanted to sell. Who else would be able to buy ABK in whole? And also want to do so? Only one I can think of is Tencent, and although Tencent would likely keep every game multi-platform, that would be a true monopolistic threat. Tencent is too large already on the game publishing arena.
I do think post this it would be very sketchy for MS to buy yet another publisher... but at the same time, if the option is between MS buying Ubisoft, or Ubisoft going the way of THQ... I think I would prefer it be acquired in whole by someone that will keep them running. I do hope somehow the company [Ubisoft] can recover, though. I think we all have heard that they been trying to sell themselves off, with no success.
@Rob_230 Microsoft tried to include Nintendo on the negotiation, cause i dont know If u have that ability to perceive more including Nintendo, yes Sony market share is smaller but Microsoft maker share is even smaller than the 70/30 with out It, but the CMA/FTC/EU and many fanboys including editors of this site stated that Nintendo is not relevant, but now that they realize that without Nintendo Sony becomes practically a monopoly in the console market fanboys start acting as If Microsoft made the decision to not include Nintendo in the market.
@Beerheadgamer82 It is not Just about the size (and PS in fact has locked huge third-party IP's as PS exclusives) It is also about the amount of exclusive deals.
Sorry for the double reply but wanted to reply to this point separately. MS has had nothing to show for it of personal gain yet, but most of those studios have been delivering content since them being acquired, it just happens most of those titles were already committed to be delivered on multiple platforms or locked on deals.
Only acquisitions that have not delivered anything since being acquired are:
My point is, I guess, all these people been working (I do question Compulsion Games), and it can take 5 years or more these days to deliver a Triple A game from scratch, which I guess is what most people refer to when they say "Xbox has not delivered anything with all their studios", other than Mojang, none have been around for long enough to deliver such a thing, and only ZeniMax already had Triple A projects in development at the time of acquisition.
@IndoorEnthusiast 1- Microsoft already sendo their future exclusives plans to regulators.
2 About Microsoft times exclusives how many of them as wall as How big are they?
@thefourfoldroot1 They're competing for different overall markets, or rather have a different direction they are trying to steer the market. CoD matters to Sony so much because right now an outsize portion of their revenue is generated by CoD, specifically mtx, and their paid privilege for the franchise means that that player base really has to play on PS, because playing anywhere else provides less of a CoD experience.
For MS, we're on the same page that GP is their focus, or at least their USP (on console, GP only accounts for <17% of revenue, so it's not their primary driver in console, it's just the USP).
And that is a key reason why CoD on GP does little for them, in actuality. It definitely does a lot for them in marketing, just as Sony's current CoD marketing contract gives an advantage. But in terms of actual functional sales, GP and a major online-only game with a player base largely dedicated to it is an unlikely to move to GP specifically because of CoD (now CoD plus other titles they may want to play may swing them, but they're not very likely to spend $180 a year to mostly play a single $70 game. That's not to say none will, but it's not a significant market shift represented by including CoD beyond the marketing power to get, ironically, non-CoD players into the subscription because it's such a big brand that's available on it, so it increases the value perception of being able to play it on a whim.
Now, heres the part 2. Even without the merger, the writing is on the wall that the likely future of CoD is not annual $70 releases, it's shifting more and more into Warzone and the F2P GaaS side of it. And considering it's main competitor's (Fortnite, Apex) have also entrenched in that model, that's just the competitive landscape for CoD as a whole. With or without MS, the future of CoD is likely F2P. That means that $70 title disappears anyway, the big revenue driver is mtx, and more importantly, that means the game exists outside Game Pass entirely. Sure there may be subscriber perks, free xp, currency, skins, early access, the kind of stuff PS gets now. But generally the likely result is a free title, not related to GP in any way designed for mtx, regardless of MS.
Which comes back to: For Sony, CoD is EVERYTHING, that + GTA + fortnite mtx is a significant part of their earnings. They're desperate to not lose any ground, and specifically not lose being the favored platform for the series. For MS, it's more or less an obstacle they have to take with the deal. Sure, it's another revenue stream, and everyone wants revenue streams, and it's a great marketing boon, but it's also expensive and ungainly to maintain, and doesn't give them a significant advantage in pushing the subscription model because the game is very rapidly falling toward the F2P model.
Now, from a Sony-centric perspective, Sony has a problem with or without this. In an all-subscription world, they're outgunned no matter WHO pulls ahead, because only companies with a major cloud infrastructure, of which only 4 exist, can even compete. If subscription is the future, and it is, Sony's not going to be a major player, and this merger has little to do with that.
In the near-term Sony has near total control of the niche they occupy. That's not in any way healthy. And only they see CoD as the main player because the current PS leadership (Jim) only sees the quarterlies and not the long term trajectories. I think MS has no problem giving away any CoD perks because they truly do not care at all, CoD isn't really the strategy in play for them.
Sorry, no time to adequately reply to that. I would question however whether server infrastructure is needed on a large scale for a subscription service focused on downloads. If it was steaming then sure. But I don’t see Sony focusing on that area too much. And sure that will mean they don’t have the huge casual market, but I feel that streaming will only ever be a gateway to getting casual gamers into a download ecosystem. Most will not be able to put up with the downsides of game streaming consistently. Not until the technical issues are sorted out which is unlikely to be within the next 30 years.
And I don’t see it as inevitable COD goes free to play, in fact I see it as much less likely if MS want to use it as a driver to get people onto Gamepass. If it stayed independent then I’d be more ready to agree with you.
@thefourfoldroot1 I think it's too soon to tell. Right now the big subscription players either include streaming or are mobile hardware focused. I think the future probably leans into some combination. I don't know that power consoles have much of a future of only because that huge casual market IS the market. As dominant as ps is in consoles, console/core is such a tiny niche of gaming revenue it's insignificant.
As for cod, the one thing certain is the current development framework for making cod is not going to remain in place. The annual cycle costs too much, consumes ever more development resources, and throwing resources at that is exactly why Activision is spinning it's wheels and looking to sell to begin with. Activation can't risk breaking cod by changing it up too much. Microsoft can. No matter who owns it throwing all resources into cod isn't sustainable and the need to change is the reason they need to sell. So it'll definitely change from the actual release cycle no matter who owns it, and what ms needs is for all those studios to be making new games for game pass, not just cranking out cod that few will even subscribe for, so it'll change up for sure. Gp doesn't benefit much from cod annual release on it to drive subs. It benefits from a dozen studios making a dozen first party games for it. That's what I'd be looking to see
It’s strange. We are agreed that the big money comes from MTX in games like CoD, Fortnite, FIFA, etc. and these are casuals in that they never buy any other game. But they are also competitive to a large extent, and will not want to keep losing because they are streaming. I can’t imagine the COD or FIFA players that spend big being willing to do so anyway. Perhaps Fortnite players…
I don’t see the console market shrinking much. Sure it’s not as big as mobile and may not be as big as streamed gaming, but it will still be profitable enough that the likes of Sony can rely on it as a revenue stream used to develop mobile and service rubbish (as they already are).
@thefourfoldroot1 CoD, the competitive game with auto-aim, lol? I haven't tried streaming any competitive games, and I'm not a competitive player, but it's a little funny for that title because the game literally aims for you...."competitive" is such a funny thing there As a Splatoon player that game is 100x harder than CoD because you have to actually motion aim like a VR game.
I agree that console may not shrink much. I just think that even at full size it's a relatively insignificant niche of gaming. What I DO see happening though is big AAA blockbusters being reigned in. It's not sustainable as it is, and that's a budget better suited to that massive casual streaming group. Everyone everywhere with HBO can stream the next ND zombie playable movie on rails. Streamed Souls would kinda suck though.
@Tharsman I would think that the fact Microsoft has a history of monopoly abuse to be the main argument. Not so much Sony.
Anyone can see what Microsoft is doing. They gain nothing from buying Activision. They just take away from Playstation.
I guess their counter to this is that Sony made some temporary exclusivity deals? Well... no s**t. We all knew that. Microsoft can well do the same, rather than try to buy all the publishers out of the market. It's like a little child losing at a game and saying "no fair" and proceeding to destroy the board. It just can't be allowed.
Microsoft is simply not competent at this and they either try better or exit the market. Trying to destroy it just cause they got money in the bank is just petty and it does not help the consumer in any way.
I do well hope the merger is stopped. It will send the necessary message that Microsoft needs to actually change their management style. That is the real problem they have.
@Nem if you think Sony does not have a history of monopolistic practices, you need to do some homework on their behavior in the music industry and their recent steps to devour all anime distribution they can get their hands on.
@thefourfoldroot1 @Leonhart @Snake_V5 I'm gonna be optimistic like you three and also hope we finally learn about the specifics regarding that deal. It's crazy that Xbox still doesn't have FF7 Remake: Part 1 after all this time.
@Tharsman I don't recall saying Sony are saints. I remember they pulled that same crap by buying Psygnosis, a publisher i loved and running them to the ground.
This stuff doesn't work and these moves are bad for consumers.
@Nem I think that people are just creating catastrophic scenarios for sake of it.
Like yes, I get it. Consolidation is big meanie. But at the same time players are forgotting that people are creating studios, not names of those studios.
In the last few years I counted more than 20 new "AAA" studios that were created by people who have huge experiences in top AAA studios on the market. And that's how things worked in past in games industry. Big players are buying big studios, but top devs from those studios are leaving to form another studios.
Just look at Respawn for example. Yes Zampella is there, but almost nobody from OG Titanfall team are there anymore. Look at BioWare, Bungie, Naughty Dog etc. etc.
@Nem your statement to me could had been better phrased then:
That final “not so much Sony”, in that context, sounded like Sony has never abused its influence on any field, while they actively do it to this day.
@BeerIsAwesome EA and others aren’t coming to Sony’s defense for several reasons. The main one being how Sony gouges them and forces them to pay for crossplay to be implemented. Smaller ones include Sony burying other companies saying nobody can touch COD. Whiles it true Battlefield has struggled in recent years Apex Legends has not. Sonys business practices haven’t earned them any fans with the likes of EA.
@thefourfoldroot1 I think you’re a bit off on when streaming will become relevant. You should go look at internet speeds looked like just 10-20 years ago. How far tech has come in 30 years is pretty ridiculous. Streaming working at high level is a lot closer than people think. Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA and Tencent all pouring lots into it.
Well, depends where. Some smaller countries certainly, but when talking about where the money is you are talking about the US and across the EU, and without a political will to improve the public infrastructure, those companies you mention can only do so much. Plus there is the price increase that will result…I don’t see it being feasible to reliably stream across most of the major game playing countries, at a price suitable for the masses, for at least 2-3 decades.
@thefourfoldroot1 Given what starlink has been able to do in recent years I think it’s closer that. But yes as always in certain countries it will arrive first. I’d guess outside the States and Europe the priority would be Japan and India. As for the infrastructure if there’s enough profit to be made the companies will find a way to fund it. That’s all up to their cost benefit analysis teams I suppose.
Sure, but they have shown that, especially when there is no competition as in much of the US, there is limited desire.
Also, some gaming just isn’t suitable. Even a cabled connection from a PC to a VR headset is a compression nightmare, add streaming to that and we’ll see a lot of people throw up. Even in pancake first person games streaming can cause a relatively large number of people issues. It’s just inferior to playing locally, so if you are saying a large demand has to be there to get the providers onboard with upgrading…
@thefourfoldroot1 and the key there will be if it’s more profitable for companies like EA to go to streaming their products than producing and shipping them. The sub model is also proven to earn far more than just standard sales when it comes to other mediums like music and film/tv. So that would be where some could come from. I think we’re about 10 away from it being really prevalent. Sony thinks it’s close too. One of their chief concerns over this ABK deal was the cloud streaming market being locked down early.
@thefourfoldroot1 I don’t think streaming will be a replacement for the competitive or hardcore gaming crowd that soon. But we’re the by far the minority of gaming customers.
No, one of the chief concerns is the subscription market. Streaming is a future iteration of that, but it will take decades. Downloading is the way for now, which doesn’t require any improved infrastructure.
Casual gamers will allow a game to drop a few times before discounting it as too much of a hassle and going back to their phones; hardcore gamers wouldn’t even consider it to begin with. Until it is pretty much flawless there is no most key to speak of even with todays games.
@thefourfoldroot1 it’s far closer than you think. The big boys of tech are all in racing each other towards it.
@thefourfoldroot1 and while streaming is a chief concern it literally states in the documents that there was concern over cornering the cloud market. Hence why Microsoft responded with a 10 year deal with cloud streaming competitor NVIDIA.
I’m sure they are going to try, I just don’t see it being viable for well over a decade, probably 2 at least. Which is nothing to these companies of course.
@jmoss Why would EA spring to Sony's defense? Sony are big boys now, they can take care of themselves. Charging for crossplay and all that rubbish has absolutely nothing to do with it. There's no such things as friends and enemies in business, only people who can make you more money - Sony and Microsoft wouldn't be working together in a different sector if that wasn't the case. This is about the bottom line, and EA will likely lose out because of it.
@Tharsman Yeah, i meant on this case. We aren't talking about other markets, just this one. If Sony does it on a different market they are just as bad and i will oppose them. But, they aren't doing on this one, Microsoft is.
@BeerIsAwesome “ Somewhere in the middle of all this, I'm actually quite surprised that companies like EA aren't opposing this.” That was from your post so it appeared you were questioning why EA wasn’t rallying against it. They don’t care for the way Sony gouged them is a reason they’re not likely to care or help them. The business model on shooters has changed. Battlefield hasn’t sold well but Apex Legends has dominated. Free to play is the path forward because it provides more players access and the devs are making more money. There’s no reversing what’s happened now. Once EA realized they’d make way more by having kids ask their parents for $5-$10 once a week than $70 even once every few months the decision was made. I’d be shocked if next BF game goes to full retail price.
@jmoss But someone like EA wouldn't be backing Sony up. They'd be opposing it for their own reasons. Google opposed the deal for their own reasons, Nvidia (supposedly Nvidia anyway) opposed the deal for their own reasons. Sony opposed the deal for their own reasons. None of them opposed it "to help" another company. And if EA were to oppose it, they would be doing it for their own reasons. Not because they want to help Sony. I don't see how you've come to that conclusion.
@BeerIsAwesome well you questioned why EA wouldn’t have an interest so I said possible reasons they don’t care and are ready to embrace streaming model. Sony reached out for people against the deal and only Google and Nvidia came calling. EA kind of took offense when Sony suggested nothing could compete with COD as evidenced by EA publicly stating afterwards that Apex does very well. They’re very behind mergers like this for obvious reasons, possible big payday down the road for them.
@jmoss You don't have friends in court, and neither Google nor Nvidia came to Sony's aid, regardless of what the PR spin makes it look like. Like I said before, they would have opposed the deal for their own reasons, not because some pathetic Japanese company asked them to help out.
Perhaps you may be right, but EA won't have taken offense at that (again, no friends or enemies in business). They'd just use it as a bit of PR spin, which makes them look good in the eyes of the customer, who pays their bills in the end. Where I'm coming from is that Microsoft has bought out EA's direct rival, and FPS market leader, and they have a larger warchest with which to squeeze EA and more importantly Sony. Someone else told me Microsoft would happily allow EA to buy into their ecosystem for minimal effort and maximum reward, but if Microsoft wanted minimal effort and maximum reward, they wouldn't be buying out large swathes of the market and instead just be doing the Sony thing of exclusive deals and strategic partnerships. But that's just the way I see it. I doubt we'll ever agree on this.
@Nem Microsoft had never been considered a monopoly in gaming, by any stretch of the word. It only ever was considered a monopoly in the OS arena, back in the 90s, and they used that power to push into the internet browser market.
These days, the OS marker is no longer a monopoly, most consumer computers might run windows but in the overall market iOS and Android give Windows a run for its money. This is a bit of topic though, my point is that MS is using its bank account to expand its gaming portfolio, but not its power in the OS market. A monopolistic power move from MS would be to find a way to force Windows users to buy from the Windows Marketplace and block Steam, yet they do the opposite: sell their games on Steam.
I know it’s not popular, especially around here, that MS is making big acquisitions, but it’s still nowhere near the realm of monopoly concerns.
@BeerIsAwesome it’s key to remember Microsoft is doing something completely new business model wise to gaming. They’ve been very open that the goal is to have enough content creators in house that down the line they’re a machine churning out game pass content. You’re right they could easily go the Sony route but the business model isn’t sell as many boxes as possible, it’s keep them on the sub service. They’d be on PS with game pass tomorrow if Sony was ok with it. Netflix and Spotify dominated by being available everywhere and having a ton of in house content creators. That’s the model Microsoft aims to copy. They’re even signing deals with EA hence why EA Play has been part of game pass ultimate for years now. To Sony this is all about COD and the money it makes them. Microsoft has likely gains more revenues getting King than COD and gets them into mobile where they have zero presence. Battlenet and WOW money also a big get as PC users where most game pass growth is. This deal won’t effect PS at all currently, but they know it’ll impact down the line. COD being associated with the 360 then the PS4 did more for both those consoles than any exclusive either had.
@jmoss Yes and no. It's not the first subscription in gaming (even Plus and Gold aren't) but Microsoft has big enough pockets to be able to weather huge losses and still bring the noise, while the early sub services like OnLive, Gamefly and Big Fish all the way up to modern ones like Stadia, fell by the wayside because they couldn't back up those services in the same way Microsoft can. Which of course leads them to buying studios and everything you've just stated. I think it's the pessimist in me (as well as Microsoft's history over the years) that says they'll be using all this leverage to ultimately snuff out the rivals. But that's just business in the end.
@Tharsman "still" being the operative word. MS doesn't do worse cause they aren't allowed, not cause they don't want.
By the time "still" comes around it will likely be too late. That is what they are banking on.
@Nem getting into the realm of monopoly concern in the gaming industry would require MS to buy Tencent or Sony itself.
It's an extremely fragmented industry with hundreads of developers and publishers. It's almost impossible to control the whole market.
And MS does not have infinite funds. After this, they will be left with around 35 billion cash in hand, and that fund has been getting smaller every year. It's not realistic to expect MS to be able to do another acquisition of this scale.
They might still get their hands on another household name, but not one that is actually that large. I could see them trying to acquire Sega Sammy Holdings (a 3.93 billion market cap, and a company that has struggled in the last few years) but Sega isn't that big.
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