In its most recent answer to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, Sony raised additional reservations about Microsoft’s planned merger with Activision Blizzard (CMA). Sony has always been against the deal. Now it’s implying that Microsoft may (unintentionally) hinder the performance and quality of PlayStation’s Call of Duty, which may cause players to transfer to Xbox.
According to the letter (PDF), Microsoft is considering releasing a PlayStation version of Call of Duty with faults and defects that won’t become apparent until the game’s final level or after subsequent updates. “It’s possible that gamers would stop considering PlayStation as a reliable place to play Call of Duty even if degradations of this sort were quickly discovered.
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Furthermore, as evidenced by the sales of Modern Warfare II, Call of Duty is typically purchased in the first few weeks after its debut. Players of Call of Duty on PlayStation might migrate to Xbox if they learned the game ran more slowly there than on Microsoft’s console.”
Because of “Microsoft’s choice 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,” Sony claims that the CMA and it would be unable to determine whether or not SIE is being treated fairly.
The Verge suggests that it might not be the best idea to lower the standard of Call of Duty on PlayStation, whether that decision is deliberate or accidental. If Call of Duty were to launch on PlayStation with bugs, gamers would likely be angrier at Microsoft and Activision than at Sony.
In any case, Microsoft said it will “provide Sony with parity on the release date, content, features, improvements, quality, and playability with the Xbox platform” in its most recent statement to the CMA (PDF). If Sony agrees to Microsoft’s proposed 10-year pact to retain Call of Duty on PlayStation, then this will be the case. Microsoft is amenable to having a neutral observer verify that there is compatibility between platforms.
The letter from Sony reiterates the company’s earlier worries that Microsoft might pull Call of Duty off PlayStation and make it a Game Pass exclusive. Microsoft has denied this claim once more. “As we have stated all along: it makes zero commercial sense to pull Call of Duty off of PlayStation,” Rima Alaily, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Competition Legal Group, recently told Axios.
If Microsoft is going to be allowed to purchase Activision Blizzard, we won’t know for sure for quite some time. As of April 26th, the CMA will have rendered its final decision on the transaction. Sony claims it must consider millions of documents from Microsoft and Activision in addition to thousands of communications from members of the general public. In February, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) expressed worry that the acquisition may “hurt UK gamers” and lead to a “significant loss of competition in gaming consoles.”
Except for the FTC in the United States, no other major regulators have yet given their stamp of approval to the takeover. But, the EU is reportedly ready to approve the merger after Microsoft announced it will bring Call of Duty and other games on the Nintendo Switch and GeForce Now platforms.
Despite Nintendo Switch’s inferior hardware compared to Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, Microsoft’s letter explains how Activision plans to port its Call of Duty games to the platform. To accomplish this, it would “optimize the display resolution, in-game texture resolution, reduce the rendering speed (i.e. frames per second), and simplify advanced rendering techniques (such as raytracing, shadow, lighting, and antialiasing techniques).”
Exclusive: Microsoft believes the UK's competition regulator has overestimated the amount of Call of Duty fans who'd leave PlayStation for Xbox if Microsoft took CoD from Sony–and has survey results they say prove it
They shared their data with mehttps://t.co/eUq4XxsDgB
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) March 6, 2023
Thus, it sounds like Activision will have to give up a little something. Whether or whether the Switch can manage the massive file sizes of modern Call of Duty games is unknown, however playing with lower-res textures could assist.
Meanwhile, it appears that fans of the Call of Duty series may soon be treated to yet another inexplicable crossover. The Twitter account for the show has issued a teaser with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder and the date March 21.
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