How can Sony compete with Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard?

Microsoft’s seismic deal to put Activision Blizzard King under their sole control rocked the entire industry like an earthquake, and Sony would be right to worry. It even causes Sony stock price plummetedthough that has recovered somewhat since then.

For those invested in the so-called console wars, the duel between rival console platforms could be something like Sith vs Jedi, Liverpool vs Man United, Nike vs Adidas, just more online and less dignified. These wars have always been so hot since Sega took on Nintendo over hearts and minds. But I get it – a lot of emotion can be invested in these platforms, even if skirmishes can turn into silly online insults.

Related: Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard was an earthquake, but the crown in the deal could be king

Sony has a loyal fan base, especially in Europe. Meanwhile, in its home country of Japan, Sony has a devotion that puts Microsoft far behind Microsoft. However, in this generation, this may change. For Christmas, Xbox Series is the second most popular console in terms of sales in the UK, ahead of PS5 (Nintendo Switch conquered everything to take the top spot). And even in Japan dominated by Sony and Nintendo, everything seems to be changing, with Xbox outselling previous Xbox consoles. The news of Microsoft’s megaton acquisition even shook Japanese commentators, causing amazement and even fear for their beloved PlayStation.

Screenshot showing how to play in Jak and Daxter

“Sony is under tremendous pressure to respond. George Jijiashvili, principal games analyst at Omdia, said Sony doesn’t have as much pocket money as Microsoft, so its options are more limited. These options can be limited, but with this huge shift in the gaming landscape, Sony could be forced to make some big decisions.

Sometimes, a light switch gets flickered and things get a little lighter. Even the possibility of Call of Duty becoming an Xbox exclusive worries PlayStation fans. The shooter series has such a large following of users that many will switch to Game Pass and Xbox if the exclusivity occurs. Because Microsoft plans to keep several cross-platform assets, Call of Duty will probably remain on PlayStation, but other games won’t go this route. Longtime PlayStation characters – Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon – are suddenly bluer blue, the shade of Microsoft. PlayStation-only mascots now look thin on the ground. Ratchet, Kratos, and then who else? Ellie, maybe, although TLOU isn’t really a mascot series. Are we claiming Aloy and Jin fall into this category after just a single game?

Sad Kratos Urn

Looking back, it can be argued that Sony was careless. Crash Bandicoot is a work of Naughty Dog, but has been licensed to Universal Interactive. Universal merged with Vivendi Games and Activision finally got the rights when it merged with Vivendi. Spyro was an Insomniac creation but a similar thing happened. Meanwhile, PS2 classics like Jak and Daxter (Naughty Dog) and Sly Cooper (Sucker Punch) have been abandoned, with no new games in the series in years – and with these studios are currently moving in the ‘prestige’ direction, a sequel is still not happening.

Sony has a deep library, but most of it is collecting dust. Yes hint about backward compatibility coming to modern PlayStation consoles, but Sony will need to upload many games digitally (unless the expectation is that players become disc collectors). Microsoft has a huge advantage in this, with many older Xbox games still available on the platform through Game Pass and backed for backward compatibility. Sony had to start from scratch.

The rumored upcoming PlayStation subscription service – codenamed Spartacus – could be a worthy Game Pass competitor, but Sony will need a lot more games to compete properly. Game Pass owners can enjoy first-day access to totem series like Halo and Forza. Can Sony offer something similarly appealing?

Sony has bet big on blockbuster movies, with titles like Horizon Forbidden West, God of War Ragnarok and the Last of Us series, but these types of games require huge investments of time and money to produce. exports, and there are not enough of them. PlayStation may also need a new FPS, with good multiplayer, to compete with Halo and to avoid the potential loss of CoD players.

It’s still really about games, and Microsoft is securing these with studio purchases. It acquired ZeniMax for $7.5 billion last year, and along with the nearly $70 billion deal for Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has the rights to Fallout, Elder Scrolls, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Doom, Overwatch, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Diablo, State of Decay, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, among many others, are under its belt. That’s not to mention the people who make a lot of money in Minecraft and Candy Crush add to its war chest.

What can their Japanese opponents do? “Sony has been doing [a] some recent acquisitions but are much smaller in scale and involve studios with which they have established relationships,” said Jijiashvili.

Game Pass Ultimate Halo Infinite
via Xbox

“Acquiring Activision Blizzard could force Sony to take a bold move regarding its subscription offerings. Specifically, we could see Sony include several releases of the day as part of their rumored subscription improvement, in an attempt to better compete with Game Pass. ”

The analyst also expects Sony to double down on its “unique strengths” such as its heavy back catalog, PlayStation VR and use of its other entertainment properties. This last point can be seen in the upcoming Uncharted movie.

But the problem is still there. Sony will need to respond and it will cost it.

Next: PS5 is the most innovative PlayStation since PS1

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