Sony puts Battlefield under the bus in its battle against Microsoft’s Activision acquisition
As Sony battles tooth and claw to prevent Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard, Battlefield is caught in the crossfire. Sony claims in a complaint with the UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), that Call of Duty is a particularly significant brand to have on PlayStation platforms that cannot be substituted by games like Battlefield. If Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved, it will own the franchise.
Arguments like these are prevalent when corporate attorneys argue with authorities over who should and should not be permitted to purchase who. However, it’s an unusual sensation to see a company go from marketing to roasting.
Microsoft, for example, has done precisely the same thing as Sony in its own CMA files.
It was a similar narrative when Meta tried to argue in its own papers with the CMA that it should be permitted to purchase Giphy, claiming that GIFs genuinely stink, and that young people despise them. “There are signs of an overall reduction in GIF usage,” Meta stated, later adding that “marketplace discussion and user attitude towards GIFs on social media reveals that they have gone out of favour as a content type, with younger people in particular labelling GIFs as ‘for boomers’ and ‘cringe.'” The CMA was not convinced.
To be fair, IGN notes that Sony has a point concerning Battlefield and Call of Duty. While Activision’s brand just had its largest opening weekend ever, EA said that the most recent Battlefield game, Battlefield 2042, “did not meet expectations.” Microsoft may have said that it wants to maintain Call of Duty games on PlayStation “as long as there’s a PlayStation out there to ship to,” but Sony is claiming that Microsoft should not have ownership of the property in the first place.
In addition to the UK’s CMA, the European Commission is looking into Microsoft’s $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, and the US Federal Trade Commission has apparently shown interest in looking into the transaction. It signifies that the transaction may not be ready to close for many months.