The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) overestimates the importance of the Call of Duty franchise, according to Microsoft. The company is now trying to argue that this IP won’t make most PlayStation players switch to Xbox.

Microsoft: only 3% of PlayStation players would switch consoles if CoD became an Xbox exclusive

  • As reported by Axios, Microsoft commissioned a YouGov survey in January to see the impact of Call of Duty on player preferences.
  • The survey’s details, including its sampling, remain undisclosed, but it found that “just 3% of all PlayStation users would switch to buying an Xbox if Microsoft pulled Call of Duty from PlayStation.”
  • 10.5% of users who ranked the franchise as one of their two favorites would have moved from PlayStation to Xbox.
  • In contrast, the CMA’s own survey showed that 15% of avid users, who played CoD for at least 10 hours or spent at least $100 on it in the past year, would abandon PlayStation if the series became exclusive to Xbox.
  • According to the CMA, 9% of hardcore players would buy a PC instead of a PlayStation, so around a quarter (24%) of all PlayStation users would switch their device if Call of Duty got pulled from their preferred platform.
  • It is worth noting that Microsoft’s survey was focused only on consoles, and there is not enough data regarding the share of players moving from PlayStation to PC.
  • Rima Alaily, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft’s Competition Law Group, told Axios that it “makes zero business sense” to make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox, adding that the share of players who would switch consoles was “too small to hurt Sony’s ability to compete and too small to make a withholding strategy profitable for Xbox.”

The CMA is now collecting responses to its provisional findings on the Activision Blizzard acquisition from involved parties. The UK regulator, which has until April 26 to make its final ruling on the deal, also proposed several remedies for Microsoft, including buying only a part of Activision Blizzard (without the Call of Duty franchise).

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