Sony and Microsoft trade impairment claims in Call of Duty's PlayStation future

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

Several updates are rolling in at once over Sony's stance on Microsoft's deal for Activision Blizzard, but one of the biggest claims is that Call of Duty might get impaired on PS5.

Sometimes, you just want to get through the Call of Duty Modern Warfare II trophies without Sony and Microsoft in the voice chat of the lobby trading blows over the latest Activision Blizzard news. Well, here we are. This is another update on the Activision Blizzard and Microsoft merger about potential Call of Duty sabotage on PS5.

Call of Duty remains at the centre of a tough Microsoft offensiveCall of Duty remains at the centre of a tough Microsoft offensive

Sony concerned Microsoft could sabotage Call of Duty

With one of the best FPS games' future up in the air, it's no surprise that in a new official UK regulatory body CMA document (via Eurogamer) Sony suggested Microsoft might end up sabotaging PS5 and other rival systems' versions of Call of Duty whether it intends to or not. Total Call of Duty parity has been suggested as a remedy to the deal by the CMA previously, this is what Sony had to say.

“Swiftly detecting any diversions from, and ensuring compliance with, a commitment as to technical or graphical quality would be challenging,” Sony said in the document. “For example, Microsoft might release a PlayStation version of Call of Duty where bugs and errors emerge only on the game’s final level or after later updates. Even if such degradations could be swiftly detected, any remedy would likely come too late, by which time the gaming community would have lost confidence in PlayStation as a go-to venue to play Call of Duty.

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“Indeed, as Modern Warfare II attests, Call of Duty is most often purchased in just the first few weeks of release," Sony suggested. "If it became known that the game’s performance on PlayStation was worse than on Xbox, Call of Duty gamers could decide to switch to Xbox, for fear of playing their favourite game at a second-class or less competitive venue.”

Finally, Sony concluded that "even if Microsoft operated in good faith, it would be incentivised to support and prioritise development of the Xbox version of the game, such as by using its best engineers and more of its resources. There would be no practical way for the CMA (or SIE) to monitor how Microsoft chooses to allocate its resources and the quality/quantity of engineers it devotes to the PlayStation version of Call of Duty, to ensure that SIE would be treated fairly and equally.”

Call of Duty Modern Warfare IICall of Duty Modern Warfare II

Essentially, then, Sony is suggesting that regulating the quality and technical capability will be very tricky both during and in post-launch states. Regardless of if Microsoft has good intentions for a 10-year deal for Call of Duty, the Call of Duty franchise could forever be "impaired" by any Microsoft deal for Activision Blizzard. It's an interesting thesis from Sony, nonetheless. Microsoft has since responded.

"Since the CMA issued its Provisional Findings, we have offered solutions which address its concerns and increase the deal's benefits to UK players and game developers. These include a guarantee of parity between Xbox and PlayStation on access to Call of Duty and legally binding commitments to ensure that Call of Duty is available to at least 150 million more players on other consoles and cloud streaming platforms once the deal closes."

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Finally, Microsoft rounded out by stating: "The decision now lies with the CMA on whether it will block this deal and protect Sony, the dominant market leader, or consider solutions that make more games available to more players."

So, here we are at the end of the article! Did you get all that? If you really want the TLDR, Sony says, "no Activision!" and Microsoft says, "yes Activision!" Anyway, get in the comments and let us know if you think Microsft's tenure of Call of Duty would result in PS54 versions being cast aside! Yes? No? Get it down below!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favourite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
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