Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard is already taking its toll on Sony. The Japanese giant has had a difficult day on the stock market since, after confirming said acquisition, its shares sank 13%, which translated into losses of approximately 20,000 million dollars.
In the attached graph you can see that sinking in the area marked in red, although it is true that, at the time of writing this article, Sony shares were already in a clear recovery process, as evidenced by that upward trend that, until now, has remained unchanged. This is positive, without a doubt, but at the same time it is a symptom of the enormous dependence that Sony has on its PlayStation division, and that it has on the great video game developers, such as Activision Blizzard.
The truth is that it is something perfectly understandable, and easy to understand. Think that, in 2020 alone, the Call of Duty franchise generated $3 billion in revenue, a figure that was distributed among different platforms, but that is no less impressive for that. If we focus on Sony’s PlayStation division, analysts have it quite clear, the Japanese company could lose up to $262.6 million a year if said franchise becomes an Xbox and PC exclusive.
If we add to that figure the impact that the exclusivity of other Activision Blizzard franchises could have those losses would be even greater, but it is important to keep in mind that, for the moment, Microsoft has not made any comment in this regard.
With exclusivity, Sony loses, but Microsoft (and Activision Blizzard) too
It is clear that by establishing the exclusivity of key Activision Blizzard franchises on Xbox and PC, Microsoft would give Sony a hard blow, and that this could be aggravated by future title exclusivities from other studios and developers that the Redmond giant has to its credit, such as Bethesda and id Software, for example, but the truth is that in the end this would also be detrimental to Microsoft itself.
It is estimated that the declaration of exclusivity of Call of Duty could reduce franchise revenue by up to 70%, including both those generated from the sale of games and micropayments. To this we must add, in addition, the criticism and the bad image that Microsoft could reap if it decides to carry out a movement of this type.
I think, in the end, to Microsoft it would not rent him to take that step because, as we have seen, it would harm Sony, but also itself. However, it is clear that the Redmond giant is going to try to take advantage of this purchase and it is likely that they will do so through three main keys: launching exclusive content on Xbox and PC, launching early on those platforms (goodbye to the “first on PlayStation, hello to the “first on Xbox and PC”) and creating new franchises that could end up being exclusive to PC and Xbox (it already happened with Bethesda’s Starfield).
On the other hand, we must not forget everything that the purchase of Bethesda means for Xbox and PC Game Pass, and that is that it will allow you to bring all, or almost all, Activision Blizzard franchises to said service. This would greatly improve the value of Game Pass, and it would leave Sony, which has no real alternative, in a sticky situation. I hope that Sony responds in some way to all the movements that Microsoft is making, although the truth is that it is complicated. Continuing to bet on bringing your exclusives to the PC could be a good option to increase income, but it is a strategy that can end up becoming a double-edged sword.