A few weeks ago, the tone began to rise between Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (PlayStation) around some disagreements over the strategy of the two parties. On the one hand, Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, criticized Microsoft for an “irresistible” Game Pass offer that was hard to resist. As such, PlayStation opposed the Activision/Blizzard takeover, stating that the deal was a danger to the video game industry and would create a market monopoly.
On the other hand, Phil Spender, the boss of Xbox, defended himself by criticizing the PlayStation for its desire to remain the market leader, with great difficulty adapting to a new market with the PlayStation Plus, which can be as competitive as the Gamepass. To make matters worse, Microsoft accused Sony of using dishonest technology by paying for agreements to keep games from third-party publishers out of Game Pass. Finally, Phil Spencer assured that the Activision/Blizzard acquisition would not change anything for the video game industry, leading us to believe that Activision is not that big of a company after all.
Today the conflict escalates with a response from Jim Ryan who wants to clear things up.
Xbox vs. PlayStation: Act II
In a statement to Game Industry Lines, Jim Ryan steps up to respond to Phil Spencer’s recent remarks. The CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment wants to return to the beautiful words of Phil Spencer, which in reality do not seem so beautiful.
This necessarily concerns the future of the Call of Duty license on the PlayStation. Phil Spencer said he reassured Jim Ryan in early 2022 by reassuring him that Activision’s legendary series will remain on Sony’s consoles even after the current deal. This is obviously no longer the case, and Jim Ryan wants to know.
He said: “I didn’t mean to comment on what I thought was a private business discussion, but I feel the need to clarify because Phil Spencer introduced it to the audience. Microsoft has offered to keep the Call of Duty license on the PlayStation for only three more years after the end of the current deal between Activision and Sony. After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their offering was inadequate on many levels and didn’t take into account the impact on our players. We want PlayStation players to continue to receive the highest quality from Call of Duty, and Microsoft’s proposal undermines that principle.”
Therefore, this new statement will undoubtedly add fuel to the fire. Jim Ryan clears things up and shows that Phil Spencer may have embellished the situation and that three more years is not a serious offer (knowing that from 2023 the Call of Duty license will no longer be annual). It’s actually one extra opus on PS5.
At this point, the Activision/Blizzard acquisition is still pending. Many regulators are stepping up their takeover investigations to confirm or deny a transaction. Over the past few hours, Amazon has backed Sony and Jim Ryan by confirming that Activision/Blizzard’s takeover of the exclusive Call of Duty series could create an Xbox monopoly in the video game industry.