Sony has claimed that the Battlefield franchise is unable to meaningfully compete with Call of Duty, in the latest news to come out of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
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The comments were made in Sony’s response to the UK government’s investigation into the proposed acquisition (via PC Gamer). Sony stated that Call of Duty, a series owned by Activision Blizzard, has reached such a level of success that other publishers are unable to keep up with it.
Sony said that Call of Duty’s success is “not replicable”, arguing that it is too entrenched for any rival to be able to catch up – regardless of their resources. The company points out that the franchise has been the top-selling game for “almost every year in the last decade,” and is “overwhelmingly” the top-selling game in the first-person shooter genre.
“Other publishers do not have the resources or expertise to match its success,” said Sony. “To give a concrete example, Electronic Arts – one of the largest third-party developers after Activision – has tried for many years to produce a rival to Call of Duty with its Battlefield series.
“Despite the similarities between Call of Duty and Battlefield – and despite EA’s track record in developing other successful AAA franchises (such as FIFA, Mass Effect, Need for Speed, and Star Wars: Battlefront) – the Battlefield franchise cannot keep up. As of August 2021, more than 400million Call of Duty games has been sold, while Battlefield has sold just 88.7million copies.”
However, one person likely to disagree with Sony is EA CEO Andrew Wilson, who stated in September that the prospect of Call of Duty being an Xbox exclusive is a “tremendous opportunity” for Battlefield.
For its part, Microsoft has claimed that it offered Sony a 10-year deal to keep the franchise on PlayStation, and has repeatedly rebuffed the idea that it plans to make it exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem. However, Sony has repeatedly argued that there would be nothing stopping Microsoft from changing its mind about exclusivity, and that consumers may jump ship from PlayStation to Xbox in order to keep playing the franchise.
Microsoft has stated that, despite increasing scrutiny, it is confident that the deal will go ahead. However, the Federal Trade Commission is reportedly likely to file an antitrust lawsuit in order to prevent the takeover.