A survey, conducted by research data and analytics firm YouGov for Microsoft, has now been made public in full. The unredacted results shed more light on the positions of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo in the EU console market, as well as which games consumers value the most.

Survey suggests "there's nothing 'special' about CoD" that would cause PlayStation players to switch to Xbox

Earlier this year, we saw some selected portions from the YouGov survey that Microsoft commissioned in January. Now we can fully study the unredacted version, since it was entered in evidence as part of the FTC proceedings.

The 48-page survey is available via Google Drive (thanks, Simon Carless). YouGov polled 7,640 console gamers in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Poland to counter claims by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that 15% of avid players would abandon PlayStation if Call of Duty became exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem.

YouGov mainly focused on so-called “past diversion” (what consumers would have done if their favorite game wasn’t available on the console they last purchased) and “future diversion” (would they change their planned console purchase if future releases of their favorite game became unavailable on the platform) rates.

How important is Call of Duty to PlayStation users in Europe?

  • 31% of PlayStation owners play Call of Duty, and 10.4% of PS users who picked CoD as their most or second most favorite game would have switched to Xbox if this IP wasn’t available on PS at the moment of their last console purchase.
  • However, only 3.1% of all PlayStation owners would have switched to Xbox if CoD was unavailable at the moment of their last console purchase, suggesting that the overall diversion ratio is quite low.
  • 5.3% of users who were planning to purchase a PlayStation as their next console would have bought an Xbox instead if Microsoft decided to withhold Call of Duty today or in 2024.
  • Most “multihommers” (who own both Xbox and PS) “are likely to continue using PS as their main device. Therefore, any impact on Sony from multihoming would be even lower.”

What are the most favorite games among PlayStation users?

YouGov looked into player preferences without prescreening for CoD-dedicated PlayStation users. Here are the top responses:

  • FIFA — 33% of PS gamers ranked it as their most or second most favorite game;
  • Call of Duty — 17%;
  • Fortnite — 14%;
  • Assassin’s Creed — 12%;
  • GTA — 11%;
  • God of War — 10%.

Call of Duty players are not the most “loyal”

  • FIFA also leads in terms of “past diversion” among PlayStation users at 6.4%.
  • It is followed by Call of Duty and Fortnite (3.1% each), Assassin’s Creed and Gran Turismo (2.9% each), Minecraft (2.8%), GTA (2.7%), F1 (2.5%), Battlefield (2.2%), God of War and Rocket League (2% each).

Call of Duty is also 2.6 percentage points below FIFA in terms of “future diversion”

  • Interestingly, “past diversion” rates vary by country. Call of Duty is clearly an outsider in Germany (2%, ranks 13th) and Poland (2.7%, ranks 16th).

“Past diversion” rates by country (FIFA leads everywhere)

  • YouGov concluded that “no single game can foreclose a platform and there’s nothing ‘special’ about CoD when it comes to console choice.”
  • It also suggested that as the dominant player, Sony “can have greater impact through exclusives that Xbox.”
  • And here is another conclusion: “Of the top seven games ranked as most or second most favourite, no title would lead to significant levels of diversion from PS if they were not distributed on the Sony console.”

What about console owners and their platform preferences?

  • 51% of PlayStation players use it as their only gaming console, and when it comes to multihoming, they would rather combine it with Nintendo Switch than Xbox.
  • Interestingly, only 6% of respondents solely own an Xbox, while 4% of EU gamers use all three platforms.

Overlapping parts are the shares of gamers who use their console in combination with another platform

  • 27% of current PS users chose PlayStation 5 as their next planned purchase, followed by the next version of PS5 (22%) and the next-gen PS (16%).
  • Overall, 74% of PS users “plan on purchasing a PlayStation next as opposed to only 44% of Xbox owners who plan on purchasing an Xbox next.”
  • Another interesting takeaway is that “past diversion” ratio for Call of Duty among Xbox users is much higher than among PS owners — 7.4% vs. 3.1%. The same applies to almost all games except GTA and Far Cry.
  • Given the survey was commissioned by Microsoft, this part seems all about presenting Xbox as an underdog in the console market compared to PlayStation.

“Past” and “future” diversion ratios for most favorite games on PlayStation and Xbox 

For more data on games, consoles, playtime, and player spending on select titles, check the full YouGov survey.

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