Gaming

Call of Duty restarts the console war

The different directions taken by the PlayStation and Xbox when the latest generation machines came along, as well as the lone breakout of the Switch, could lead us to write that the console war as we’ve known it for 90 years and Nintendo vs. SEGA is over. . And this is without taking into account the success of Game Pass and the more than worthy start of the Xbox Series, all the more noticeable when, on the contrary, if the PlayStation 5 is still selling like hot cakes, the catalog and fan enthusiasm remain quite limited.

A situation that complicates the life of Sony, accustomed to racing alone in the leaders of the previous generation. Of course, the PlayStation is still outselling the Xbox. But everyone agrees that Sony’s success today is only due to the success of the PlayStation 4, and Jim Ryan’s rare statements do not cause disappointment or criticism of the players. Even recently, the new PS+, conceived as a response to Game Pass, didn’t immediately convince, with a more than disappointing retro catalog and heavily criticized pricing decisions.

Classics catalog received as warmly as PS Classic

It is in this context that the war around Call of Duty takes place. January 2022, we are surprised to learn of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard for nearly $69 billion. Among all the licenses that then fall into the fold of the Xbox (Warcraft or, ironically, Crash Bandicoot …), one of them worries: Call of Duty.

The FPS, which turns 20 next year, has sold over four hundred million copies, most of them on PlayStation! If we don’t have machine-by-machine exact counts, we know that in Europe in particular, the CoD and PS brands are closely linked in the hearts of players.

Thus, when Microsoft takes over the title, questions arise. Among regulators, the first thing they fear is a monopoly position (see our article). But at Sony, too, who wouldn’t welcome the fact that one of the largest video game licenses in history is leaving its catalog. However, the CoD brand is in decline, the last episode was a disappointment on all counts, and Sony offered itself to Bungie, a shooter game specialist (Destiny) that could well develop a big exclusive FPS on the PlayStation. Not to mention Guerilla, another recent Japanese acquisition and creator of the Killzone FPS license highly regarded by PlayStation players.

So, when Jim Ryan responds to regulators through the press saying that Phil Spencer’s promises aren’t good enough, is he really trying to secure himself a few more years of Call of Duty, or is it just a ploy? their doubts to hinder competition, slow down or even prevent Microsoft’s acquisition of ActiBliz?

The strategy of the latter is really turned to the future, with the ability to “feel” the moment. Didn’t Game Pass achieve exactly what Google royally failed just a few months ago? Sony, on the other hand, seems to be building on its achievements and being more conservative. Something that could also continue to work: beautiful exclusive licenses, great solo adventures AAA or even AAAA, deep games like TLOU or Fumito Ueda’s products, that’s what made the manufacturer’s success and reputation, and it’s also what gamers expect from Sony. And no quarrels with a neighbor.

The PS5 catalog will not grow at the expense of Microsoft doing more or better, even if Call of Duty continues to be released on the machine. We wouldn’t be in our position to write this, but we would like to tell Jim Ryan to keep his fingers away…

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