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Sony Worries Microsoft Could Make Call Of Duty Exclusive To Game Pass

The battle over the proposed Microsoft-Activision Blizzard merger continued this week, as both Microsoft and Sony filed documents with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. In its filings, as shown by The Verge, Sony stated that Microsoft’s Game Pass is far ahead of PlayStation Plus in terms of market share, and also said that it’s concerned that Microsoft may make Call of Duty exclusive to its subscription service.

In the statements, Sony says that it believes that Microsoft would have an incentive to engage in four different strategies that would have a negative effect on its business. Those strategies include raising the price of Call of Duty on PlayStation, intentionally degrading the performance of the shooter series on PlayStation platforms, not prioritizing its multiplayer servers on PlayStation, and making it only available on Game Pass. Sony further states that Microsoft would not have to make Call of Duty actually exclusive to Game Pass, as the company could instead raise the price of the game on PlayStation Plus to a “commercially unviable” level, making it a “de facto” exclusive.

Microsoft has submitted responses to the CMA’s preliminary findings, and says Sony’s position is “a self-serving attempt to protect its dominant market position.” Microsoft also claims the CMA has made a “fundamental and obvious error” in its impact calculations

— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) March 16, 2023

Sony has also submitted responses and admits “beyond doubt that Game Pass is far ahead of PlayStation Plus” in terms of share and reiterates that Microsoft could have incentives to raise CoD price, degrade CoD on PS compared to Xbox, and make CoD only available on Game Pass

— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) March 16, 2023

These claims come in response to a Microsoft filing that disputed many of the regulators’ core findings, especially in its impact calculations. Microsoft goes so far as to call Sony’s claims “a self-serving attempt to protect its dominant market position.”

The UK’s CMA has repeatedly shown skepticism towards the merger, with its provisional report from February suggesting that Microsoft sell off Call of Duty in order to assuage anticompetitive concerns. However, the regulator recently released a series of anonymous surveys from gaming companies that expressed mostly positive feelings towards the deal.

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