The battle continues, as Sony recently published a statement providing new arguments as to why it believes that Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard would be harmful to fair comeptition in the video game market. This statement was sent to the CMA, the market regulators of the United Kingdom, who have been the ones most heavily scrutinizing the deal, moving their investigation onto a second phase not too long ago.
In this recent statement, as transcribed by VGC, Sony calls Call of Duty "irreplaceable," and claims that Activision-published games drive more "user engagement" on PlayStation than all of PlayStation's first-party exclusives combined. Despite the fact the Xbox has now publicly agreed to commit to Call of Duty staying on PlayStation for over a decade, Sony is still unsatisfied, stating that after whatever time frame Microsoft offers, after the deal goes through it would "have the ability and incentive to exclude or restrict rivals... from having access to Call of Duty."
Sony goes on to explain that if such an event unfolded, PlayStation users would be compelled to switch to Xbox, which in turn would make PlayStation a weaker competitor. This would then supposedly allow Xbox to increase console and game prices for its users, as well as "reduce innovation and quality." Call of Duty fans would be "locked" into the Xbox platform, and that would "effectively prevent [PlayStation] from competing for the business of a large portion of console gamers."
With Game Pass becoming so dominant, and PlayStation/PlayStation Plus being "foreclosed," independent developers would have little choice in the way they distribute their games, and would be in a "weakened negotiating position," in which they "would likely receive worse terms for their content from Microsoft or even be required to promise exclusivity in return for distribution."
That's not all. In an attempt to answer Microsoft's claim that Nintendo does very well without Call of Duty and thus PlayStation would as well, Sony has stated, as relayed by VGC, that this reveals "Microsoft’s true strategy" of making PlayStation "become like Nintendo." According to Sony, what Microsoft wants is for PlayStation to be unable to compete in the shooter genre by owning "the best-selling shooter franchises" like Overwatch, Doom, Halo, and now also Call of Duty. According to Sony, Microsoft wants PlayStation to offer a "differentiated experience," like Nintendo does, and thus not be a direct competitor to Xbox.