There’s been a big development in the on-going drama around Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard today. The merger (that kicked off back in January 2022 this year) has been the source of much chagrin for Sony, and there’s been something of a back and forth between the companies as the deal approaches its completion.
There are a variety of government bodies currently scrutinising the the deal, and one of them is the UK’s department of Competition and Markets Authority. As part of the case studying whether the anticipated acquisition by Microsoft Corporation of Activision Blizzard is all above board and healthy for the overall video game market, the government body has published both Sony and Microsoft’s responses to its findings.
The results are very telling. As well as some choice lines about how many players or games each platform has (“there were over 280 exclusive first- and third-party titles on PlayStation in 2021, nearly five times as many as on Xbox”, says Microsoft in its reply), there are some insightful looks at how each company regards its own games.
One particular highlight is where Microsoft notes “Sony has more exclusive games than Microsoft, many of which are better quality”. The point – as you can see below – notes that “both Sony’s and Nintendo’s exclusive first-party games rank among the best-selling in Europe and worldwide,” and that “current Sony exclusive content includes prominent first-party titles such as The Last of Us, Ghosts of Tsushima, God of War, and Spiderman.”
Microsoft goes on to say: “In addition to having outright exclusive content, Sony has also entered into arrangements with third-party publishers which require the “exclusion” of Xbox from the set of platforms these publishers can distribute their games on.” Microsoft takes issue with Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Bloodborne, Silent Hill 2 Remastered, and Final Fantasy 16 here.
To see, clearly and formally, that Microsoft concedes that Sony has more numerous and better quality exclusives is telling – and perhaps a touch despiriting for the team’s working on upcoming Xbox titles (Fable, Perfect Dark, Starfield, and more come to mind).
This whole back-and-forth between Microsoft and Sony is likely to get messier as it approaches completion. We’ll keep you updated on other developments as they happen.