It seems that with every passing day in 2023, there’s some new piece of drama that ties into Microsoft’s bid to purchase Activision Blizzard. Ever since it made the announcement that was worth $68 billion last year, Sony has been up in arms, explaining how the deal isn’t just unfair to them, but also to the industry as a whole.
Regulators and even the FTC have stepped in and tried to explain why the acquisition isn’t justified, but Microsoft answered back with written deals to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms and NVIDIA – should the deal go through. Sony, meanwhile, hasn’t even reached out to make any sort of deal on their end.
So what will it take? What will Sony have to do in an effort to bend the knee and let Microsoft have its purchase of the mega-publisher? We’ve got a couple of ideas.
Call of Duty, To An Extent
The big thing here is Call of Duty, because it continues to be one of the most popular franchises on the PlayStation front. Sony’s big concern is that Microsoft will lock that away as a big exclusive, just as it’s done for Bethesda’s Starfield and maybe even Elder Scrolls VI. But that’s not the case.
Microsoft has made it clear that it intends to continue keeping Call of Duty as a multi-platform franchise, even if some older titles may end up on Xbox Game Pass at some point. It seems kind of balanced there, where the newer titles still go out to Sony fans, as well as Microsoft, so that everyone can continue to enjoy it.
But Sony needs some sort of lock-in deal. Maybe with the hand-written offers it made to Nintendo and NVIDIA, the company may finally push Sony into thinking that there could be something on the table for them as well. But the thing is, they need to take the phone call. Without any communication from Sony’s end, it could continue to be a push to make sure the acquisition doesn’t happen. And you can see that PlayStation fans are getting really tired of this.
Maybe with these additional deals, Sony can be convinced. Microsoft should just make another offer, maybe even for some exclusive content, just as it did for Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, with a one-year thing. But, really, the ball’s in Sony’s court. It’ll more than likely wait to see what regulators say before they make their move.
What About the PlayStation Plus Premium Service?
Another thing that could work in Sony’s favor is getting some of Activision’s games for Sony’s Plus Premium service. It’s certainly starting to pick up with an array of big titles, so maybe a few Call of Duty or other offerings (like Spyro, Crash and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater) could sweeten the deal.
There are more than enough Call of Duty games making the rounds that several could be exclusive to PlayStation Plus Premium for a while, as well as Xbox Game Pass.
For instance, Activision could offer the Modern Warfare games to Sony, while keeping the Black Ops games under the Xbox service. Then they could easily switch them around, offering other loose favorites like Ghosts and Advanced Warfare. The key here is offering some terrific titles that would help boost the service. This could obviously ease some of the tension that’s happening over at Sony, with a signed deal that could continue to rotate games. For that matter, we could even see classic PS1, PS2 and PS3 games as part of the deal, like older Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games, and maybe even some Crash classics.
Who wouldn’t want to play Crash Team Racing on the PS5?
It's just an idea, but doing something like this – and maybe even throwing Nintendo some classics for Nintendo Switch Online – could go a long way into showing that Microsoft wants to keep the Activision Blizzard third party menu going. Because, otherwise, Sony isn’t going to back down on complaining.
Now We Just Need To Wait
Alas, nothing will happen overnight. But, eventually, the idea needs to set in that Microsoft is trying to calm the fires here and give Sony something – anything. It’s just a matter of making Jim Ryan and his team see the benefits that could be provided here, instead of simply complaining that the whole kitchen needs to burn down.
Let’s just hope it finds a resolution. And soon.
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