Microsoft’s assurances probably means Sony doesn’t have to worry about Call of Duty’s future availability on PlayStation consoles if the Xbox-maker’s purchase of Activision Blizzard goes through.
However, just because the first person shooter will be available on PS5 indefinitely, it doesn’t mean there’ll be parity in quality with the Xbox version, Sony fears.
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In a letter to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, Sony argues the deal shouldn’t be allowed be allowed to go through in case Microsoft decides to degrade the experience on other consoles. The quotes within the letter are starting to sound paranoid.
“Microsoft might release a PlayStation version of Call of Duty where bugs and errors emerge only on the game’s final level or after later updates,” it reads.
“Even if such degradations could be swiftly detected, any remedy would likely come too late, by which time the gaming community would have lost confidence in PlayStation as a go-to venue to play Call of Duty.
“Indeed, as Modern Warfare II attests, Call of Duty is most often purchased in just the first few weeks of release. If it became known that the game’s performance on PlayStation was worse than on Xbox, Call of Duty gamers could decide to switch to Xbox, for fear of playing their favourite game at a second-class or less competitive venue.”
For its part, Microsoft has previously promised access to the game will be democratised if the acquisition finally gets approval.
When asked about console-exclusive content last month, Xbox chief Phil Spencer told Xbox ON: “I know this is part of the industry. That’s not the game we’re trying to play here either. It’s not about a skin on a gun. It’s not about a certain kind of mode of the game.
“The same version of the game will be available on all platforms, which is really what we do today. Like, if you’re a Minecraft player on PlayStation, I don’t think you feel like you have the lesser version of Minecraft or Minecraft Dungeons or Legends, which is coming out when it ships. We want to make sure those players feel like they have a great experience on the platform they choose to play on.”
The latest reporting out of Europe is that the EU plans to approve to the deal, but Microsoft still has to convince the UK and US that its plan won’t harm competition in the gaming industry.