The Microsoft guarantee that Call of Duty games would continue to come to PlayStation consoles for at least three years beyond the end of its current deal has been branded “inadequate on many levels” by PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan.
Microsoft’s planned $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard has led to concerns that the lucrative Call of Duty franchise would soon become an Xbox exclusive. Recently, Sony filed a complaint with Brazilian authorities claiming that Call of Duty was so popular it could “influences users’ choice of console”.
Microsoft has responded by providing a number of assurances. This included a signed agreement that guaranteed the ongoing availability of Call of Duty on PlayStation, with “feature and content parity”, for at least three more years beyond Sony’s existing contract with Activision.
Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Sony’s Ryan has dismissed these assurances as unsatisfactory.
“Microsoft has only offered for Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement between Activision and Sony ends,” he said. “After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers.”
“We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality Call of Duty experience, and Microsoft’s proposal undermines this principle.”
Call of Duty is arguably the biggest first person shooter franchise in the business, and has been a cross-platform concern from the beginning. It’s not hard to see Ryan’s point that even the merest hint of platform exclusivity or the perception of Xbox being the optimal CoD platform could tip the balance of the console war in Microsoft’s favour.