Sony Isn’t Scared Of ‘Call Of Duty’ Exclusivity, Sony Is Scared Of Game Pass

In the wake of Sony continuing to push back against Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard and Call of Duty for the sake of “PlayStation gamers,” many have pointed out some ironies, like how Sony is current advertising loads of PlayStation exclusive access to Modern Warfare 2’s beta, including early access and a unique operator.

But I think why Sony is protesting so much is not because of the loss of exclusive bonuses like this, which it will no doubt no longer get in a Microsoft-owned era. Nor do I actually think Sony believes that Microsoft is going to make Call of Duty fully exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem, as Microsoft has said repeatedly they’re not doing that, and they would be leaving a massive amount of money on the table as a publisher by doing so. Sony knows this.

Rather, Sony is fighting against this deal because they see the likely end result of this. That is new Call of Duty games being sold on PlayStation for full price, probably $70, while the same game is offered as included with Xbox Game Pass every year. And this is something that Sony feels like it can’t compete against, even if the game is still available on the console just as it’s always been. They may be believe that Call of Duty is a big enough series to really start to move players off PlayStation and onto Xbox, if they’re going to get a “free” Call of Duty every year, in addition to all Game Pass’s other first party offerings.

I believe Microsoft will keep selling Call of Duty on PlayStation after this deal. I think Sony believes that too. But this marks the a unique situation in which a formerly third party, massive series would be heading to Xbox Game Pass while Sony is still asking gamers to pay full price. This has happened a few times with deals Xbox has made, with games like Outriders which launched on Game Pass but cost the normal amount of PlayStation. But usually it’s apples and oranges. Yes, Sony is charging $70 for Horizon Forbidden West and The Last of Us Part I while Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon are on Game Pass, but those are entirely different series. Here, Microsoft will be offering the biggest game of the year, every year, on Game Pass, while Sony will have to sell it for full price.

Not that Sony offers its own games day one as a part of PlayStation Plus or anything, but when Call of Duty is owned by Microsoft it wouldn’t even have the option, as Microsoft would never let that happen. But that doesn’t seem to matter, as Sony has said repeatedly they do not view a Game Pass-like model where their biggest games are released on the service instead of sold individually is a viable way to fund those titles and turn a profit from them.

So it’s not that Sony doesn’t have anything to complain about, I just think people are missing what they are actually afraid of. And Sony is not being honest about it either. Losing exclusive beta weeks and operators is small potatoes. But nor do I think the “disaster” scenario of Microsoft ripping Call of Duty off PlayStation completely is likely, which Sony has to know. Rather, Sony will not say what they’re actually afraid of, Microsoft giving away Call of Duty every year to Game Pass subscribers, while Sony will continue to charge full price, and be giving a cut of that revenue directly to Microsoft.

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