304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
There’s a lot to say about Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. It has put the spotlight on several controversial issues within Activision Blizzard, and it has also drawn the ire of other companies on the business side. Chief among these is the PlayStation, which is considered the biggest competitor to the Xbox. In fact, it believes that Xbox’s impending ownership of Call of Duty could influence console choice among consumers. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has begun to address these concerns.
The Xbox boss appeared First on CNBC to talk about the deal, where host Will Koulouris asked him about the promise to keep Call of Duty available on PlayStation. As Koulouris points out, keeping the series as a $70 purchase on other platforms still makes it much less desirable than playing for ‘free’ via Game Pass. Spencer defends this by calling Game Pass an innovation. “When I look at something like Game Pass specifically, I think it’s the result of the competition in our market,” he says. “We sat back and thought ‘how can we innovate and create value?’ We came up with a new model for customers building their library of games, and players love it. I think that’s what competition is all about.”
In a way, it’s a challenge for PlayStation to make its own innovations to compete more closely with Game Pass. “Competition is about getting competitors to innovate, getting competitors to do new things like cloud, like subscriptions, like building new intellectual property,” Spencer continues. That’s what Xbox has been “focused on.” With Activision Blizzard franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, and Overwatch all slated for Game Pass, there’s certainly a lot for PlayStation to compete with.
The merger of PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now earlier this year is quite a step in that direction. PlayStation also has a UK market regulator on its side, which could throw a wrench into Xbox’s plans.