Sony has commented on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

In January of this year, Microsoft announced that it was entering into an acquisition agreement with Activision Blizzard for US$68.7 billion, and since then the acquisition has been well underway and, barring anything special, will be finalized within the next 6 months.

Today, a response document filed by Sony with the Economic Defense Administration regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard was discovered.

In this document you can see various information regarding Sony’s thoughts on the acquisition, but some of them are worth noting, at certain points in the document, Sony expresses concern about the possible exclusivity of Call of Duty, for example, among several other responses, you will find below:

CADE: From your company’s point of view, does Activision Blizzard publish titles that do not have close competitors published by other companies in the gaming industry because of their features or characteristics? of which? [OBS: Como “concorrentes próximos”, considere jogos do mesmo gênero (ação, aventura, corrida, RPG, tiro em primeira pessoa, etc.), disponíveis na mesma plataforma (PC, consoles, dispositivos móveis), voltados para o mesmo público jogador (infantil, adulto, casual, hardcore, etc.) e desenvolvidos com base em valores de produção e especificações técnicas semelhantes.]

Sony:

Activision’s Call of Duty is a landmark game: a “blockbuster,” a AAA-like game without rival. According to a 2019 study: “The importance of Call of Duty to gaming in general cannot be overstated. The brand is the only video game IP to make the top ten of all entertainment brands among Fanatics, joining powerhouses like Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ choice of console, and its network of loyal users is so ingrained that even if a competitor has the budget to develop a similar product, it cannot compete with it.
Activision devotes enormous resources to the development of Call of Duty. Each annual Call of Duty release is roughly 3-5 years old. Since Activision releases one Call of Duty game per year, this equates to an annual investment of hundreds of millions of dollars.

CADE: Representativeness of sales of Activision Blizzard titles for your company’s ecosystem in relation to the total number of games sold in 2021 in (i) global and (ii) national scenarios.

Sony:

Activision titles – especially Call of Duty – represent a major revenue stream for PlayStation. 2021 Activision Games Showcased [CONFIDENCIAL AO CADE E À SIE]Spend on games and add-ons on PlayStation.[CONFIDENCIAL AO CADE E À SIE]. The new version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has set a record for the most digital pre-orders on the PlayStation Store in 2019. Collectively, the Call of Duty franchise games are one of SIE’s largest sources of third-party revenue. [CONFIDENCIAL AO CADE E À SIE] In 2021, physical and digital consumer spending on games and add-ons.

CADE: Please provide an estimate of the time required for a complete entry into force (from the planning stage to the start of the entrant’s activities) to consider the entrant as an effective competitor in the digital game distribution market. Consider the following scenario in your answer:

What is the estimated time to enter the PC game digital distribution market;

Sony:

SIE cannot provide a specific estimate of the time required for full input. However, he notes that it will take years for a competitor to create an effective competitor to Xbox Game Pass, even with significant investments.

CADE: According to your company’s practical experience, how relevant is the presence of exclusive titles in the competitive dynamics of the game hardware (console) market? In other words, to what extent do exclusive games on a given platform influence the consumer’s choice of a particular console? Justify your answer.

Sony:

Exclusive games are the benchmark of competition between Microsoft and SIE, but so far neither company has developed or acquired an exclusive game that decisively tipped the balance in the console’s favor. This is because proprietary exclusive games are less popular and represent less revenue than the third-party AAA games that were previously available on Xbox and PlayStation. [CONFIDENCIAL AO CADE E À SIE].

CADE: Has there been any relevant entry into the digital game distribution market in the last 5 (five) years? If so, list the companies that have recently entered this market, specifying the platform(s) – PC, consoles, mobile devices, and the countries/regions where each participant operates.

Sony:

Digital distribution of games can take two forms: Users can purchase a digital copy of a game from an online store (such as Xbox’s Game Store, Nintendo’s eShop, and SIE’s PlayStation Store) and download it to their console. , or they can subscribe to a service like Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass and pay a monthly fee to access their library of games.
Over the past five years, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass has grown to account for approximately 60-70% of the global subscription services market. This share is even higher in Brazil, where Xbox Game Pass accounts for approximately 70-80% of the PC subscription services market. When Microsoft announced that it would acquire ZeniMax in 2020, Xbox Game Pass had approximately 10 million subscribers. Even if each subscriber buys the cheapest tier ($10 per month), this subscription generates more than $1.2 billion in annual revenue. When Microsoft announced that it would acquire Activision in 2022, Xbox Game Xbox Pass grew to 25 million subscribers — a 38% increase in January 2021 — doubling annual Xbox Game Pass subscription revenue to at least $3 billion.

Unfortunately, a few interesting questions were censored, such as how representative (%) of Activision Blizzard games were in relation to your company’s gross revenue?

These are some of the questions and answers included in the document, and if you’d like to see more, you can access it via the link in the source.

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