The figures don’t lie. Exclusivities make the console choice easier, but the best-selling PlayStation and Xbox games are released on both systems. Official Sony data is there: FIFA, Minecraft, NBA… Even Grand Theft Auto V petan. Usual suspects that renew success every year along with some well-deserved exception among the five best sellers. In 2021 it was Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. But the Call of Duty thing is a separate phenomenon.
Although Call of Duty: Vanguard fell far short of meeting Activision Blizzard’s enormous expectations, it managed to become the second best-selling PS5 game in the United States and Europe in 2021, two markets with preferences that were not always aligned.
In the case of PS4, it was even surpassed by Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the previous installment. It was one of the biggest sellers, but even more was expected of it. Because the figures that Call of Duty handles are nonsense.
It is Call of Duty a priority for Sony? Definitely yes. The other reality is that, as we shall see, PlayStation is not the most profitable platform for Activision Blizzard. And neither does Xbox, for the record. But that may change in a short time.
Call of Duty gives PlayStation favor treatment, but it’s not the most lucrative market for Activision Blizzard
Despite Vanguard’s results, the sales streak of Call of Duty that does not seem to be in decline: in the absence of seeing the commercial reception of Call of Duty Modern Warfare II, the records obtained on Steam during the last beta are quite optimistic. as picked up Tom Warren of The Verge the next Call of Duty positioned himself as top sellers of Valve’s platform worldwide.
Now, if we are going to put it in perspective, let’s be fair: Activision Blizzard’s mobile revenue today is greater than that of PC and consoles combined.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that Call of Duty Warzone lands on iOS and Android offering cross-progress with the rest of the versions, including Xbox consoles or a family of PlayStation systems that have traditionally received favored treatment when it comes to the saga. Call of Duty.
What do we mean by favor treatment? In Modern Warfare II we find one week early access in terms of betas as well as Oni, an operator that will not arrive on Xbox and PC until October 27, 2023 according to Charlie Intel. We are talking about a year and a month from this date, and that is a long time.
That is, except for surprise, when it reaches the rest of the systems, the next installment will already be playing.
Enough to prefer gaming with DualSense to the comfort of a mouse and keyboard? Actually it is something more complex than that: it has always been about giving a message: “PlayStation is the home of Call of Duty”. The place where fans play before and, by extension, have a competitive advantage over the rest. Something not very different from what is currently happening with the Final Fantasy saga.
Consequently, the integration of Activision Blizzard into Xbox Game Studios is a blow to the side for PlayStation.
Microsoft ensures that Call of Duty will continue to be played on PS5, Sony fears the worst
As we mentioned at the beginning, Call of Duty It is a saga that is not exclusive to PlayStation. However, it is unquestionable that the aforementioned favorable treatment established for years has benefited Sony. Regarding the sales of the consoles, as we see, as well as in order to offer the aforementioned image of being the main platform for the millions of fans loyal to the saga.
Because it should be clear that in previous installments the maps were even released weeks or months earlier on PS4 than on other systems.
When Microsoft formalized the start of the purchase of Activision Blizzard, which is expected to be closed in a matter of months, the Xbox Game Studios license portfolio expanded brutally and at a stroke. That completely broke the picture. And that Activision is much more than Call of Duty.
Crash Bandicoot, who was the first standard-bearer for the original PlayStation, joined the Xbox family along with Spyro, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch… even Tony Hawk! But only one saga seems to have aroused susceptibilities in Sony’s management: Call of Duty.
As learned from the Brazilian regulatory process leading up to the acquisition, Sony made it clear – albeit behind closed doors – that Call of Duty is especially relevant when influencing users on which console to choose. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, addressed concerns by anticipating that previous agreements between Activision and PlayStation would be maintained. Which has its logic.
The scenario is as follows: Sony is asking Xbox Game Studios to publicly formalize an agreement guaranteeing that Call of Duty will continue to be published on PlayStation after the agreed three years.
“I had no intention of commenting on what I believe to be a private business, but feel the need to clarify as Phil Spencer has taken this to a public level.
Microsoft has only offered Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years beyond the end of the deal between Activision and Sony.
After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was insufficient on many levels and has failed to take into account the impact on our players. We want to ensure that PlayStation gamers continue to have access to the highest quality Call of Duty experience, and the Microsoft deal undermines this principle.”
In addition, it is dropped that the control of Microsoft would have important negative implications for players.
By giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry.
We want to ensure that PlayStation players continue to have the highest quality gaming experience and appreciate the CMA’s focus on protecting players.
Microsoft’s response: reiterate that plans to publish Call of Duty on PlayStation have not changed while implying that PlayStation pays studios not to release their games on Xbox Game Pass.
In short, Sony is not resigned to having to compete with Microsoft’s subscription service. Sony’s public outcry over subscription games and the company’s response are clear.
Sony does not want attractive subscription services to threaten its dominance of the market for digital distribution of consoles. games. In other words, Sony criticizes the introduction of new monetization models capable of challenging its business model.
Two very illustrative assessments, since it is an open secret that the big xbox plan is to bring Call of Duty to Game Pass and, in the same movement, break the deck again.
Bringing Call of Duty to Game Pass is a master move that can put PS5 on the ropes
PlayStation measures success in units sold. Of consoles and video games based on the concept of exclusivity. Their business model is designed that way, and it’s not too different from that of Nintendo or the one assembled by Atari. At Xbox they think that exclusivities as we know them will tend to be drastically reduced and the objective is different and goes through the model of subscription and subsequent loyalty.
Offer a video game ecosystem that you can access from PC, mobile, browser or console. You can even play next-gen titles on last-gen consoles via the cloud. A model in which callofduty, as well as games like world of warcraft, it fits great.
Once Activision Blizzard joins Xbox Game Studios, which games from Call of Duty reach Game Pass is a matter of time: it is expected that, as happened with Bethesda, Obsidian or Double Fine, the games of each studio will be integrated in the Microsoft service in stages and add additional value to your subscribers. An irresistible claim, moreover, for fans of COD:.
At a certain point, they will also be available at launch and at no additional cost. Presumably on both consoles and PC. And it’s no mystery that gamers favor the mouse and keyboard. It is profitable? An additional fact: according to Matt Percydirector of planning for Xbox Game Pass, the Xbox service increases game reservations, sales and time spent playing.
And we are not going to deny it: paying for a service that includes the new launch Call of Duty on both PC and consoles instead of having to pay 80 euros without the PC edition being included gives you an additional attraction to the Xbox model. If in three years, moreover, PlayStation runs out of incentives and favors, it will be at a dangerous disadvantage.
So, is it all advantages for Xbox users? From PlayStation they do not see it that way and they assure that subscription services can be anti-competitive in relation to publishers recouping significant investments in games by selling them for an up-front fee.
In fact, repeatedly, from PlayStation it has been dropped that this exposes sagas Call of Duty to a possible decline in the quality of new deliveries. But, of course, despite the fact that the statements may have foundation, we must bear in mind that Sony is not impartial and that its model is based on the opposite: PlayStation rejects first-party releases in PlayStation Plus and bets on including them years later in subscriptions.
If the purchase of Activision Blizzard is formalized, which seems quite likely, Xbox Game Studios will have the last word when deciding the future of Call of Dutyand the tendency is to think that it will continue to be published on PlayStation, although now it will be Xbox Game Pass subscribers who will have a favored treatment and, following the logic proposed by Sony, by extension this will influence when choosing console.
Xbox adding subscribers and Sony losing its all-important sales commission per game sold (something that cost it a £5bn lawsuit) is a lethal blow. Let the image of you be lost PlayStation is the home of Call of Duty is another powerful collateral blow whose effects are somewhat that we are about to witness.
But the best of all is that it is the players who have the upper hand and the question will be raised and on the table: pay for an annual installment on PS5 at full price or play it at launch on Xbox consoles and PCs through Game Pass.