Sony believes that no other product can be a competitor to Call of Duty and argues that the franchise is so popular that it "influences users' console choice."
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal is expected to close by summer 2023. However, prior to this, global regulators including the major ones like US Federal Trade Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority have to approve the acquisition.
The deal will have to go through more than 15 regulators in different countries, with one of them being Brazil whose regulatory body started to study the proposed deal for approval on May 20, 2022. The review process (first spotted by a ResetEra user Idas) includes interviews with third parties who were asked by the Brazilian authority about the upcoming deal and their points of view on the matter.
Among others, the regulator asked companies (including major ones like Sony, Ubisoft, and Google) whether there is a game or a franchise in the Activision Blizzard portfolio that has no competitors.
According to Sony's replies, the company believes that no publisher can create a Call of Duty competitor, and the franchise is so popular that it influences which console a player buys. The company is sure that even with a similar budget, another publisher cannot replicate the success of the series.
"Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ choice of console, and its network of loyal users is so entrenched that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, it would not be able to rival it," the company said.
Sony explained that Activision puts huge resources into the Call of Duty series and "no other developer can devote the same level of resources and expertise in game development." It also added that even if any other major AAA developer could invest so much in a game it still wouldn't be so massively popular as COD as, according to the company, Call of Duty is effectively a game category of its own.
"It is synonymous with first-person shooter games and essentially defines that category," the company said. "To say the least, players would be unlikely to switch to alternative games, as they would lose that familiarity, those skills and even the friends they made playing the game."
Judging by the responses from other companies including Ubisoft, Google, Bandai Namco, and Riot Games, major game publishers do not see a problem with Microsoft's deal with Activision Blizzard, however, Sony, as a direct competitor, seems to be rather negative about it.
The company has also made it clear that it doesn't want to lose the Call of Duty franchise on PlayStation. According to NPD, the series is usually among the most popular PlayStation games – last year, for example, it was both the first (Vanguard) and third (Black Ops Cold War) top-selling games on PlayStation in the US.
Earlier this year, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said that Microsoft wants to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation when Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is completed. However, later it was claimed that the company is committed to releasing only the next three Call of Duty games on Sony's console.