The console maker believes that there is a chance that Microsoft could deliberately leave bugs in the PlayStation version of Call of Duty.
Sony has raised concerns with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority over the potential for Microsoft to intentionally include bugs in future Call of Duty releases for PlayStation, should the company's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard go through.
A recently published document from February 22, 2023 includes Sony's feedback on the remedies proposed by the CMA where the company expressed its concerns that Microsoft may increase the cost of Call of Duty, limit its availability exclusively to the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, and even potentially lower the quality and performance of the game on PlayStation.
"Microsoft might release a PlayStation version of Call of Duty where bugs and errors emerge only on the game's final level or after later updates," Sony said in the document. "Even if such degradations could be swiftly detected, any remedy would likely come too late, by which time the gaming community would have lost confidence in PlayStation as a go-to venue to play Call of Duty."
The console maker also pointed out that, as Modern Warfare II demonstrated, most Call of Duty purchases occur within the first few weeks of release. If it were discovered that the game's performance on PlayStation was inferior to that on Xbox, the Call of Duty community on PlayStation might opt to switch to Xbox for fear of playing the game on a platform that is considered inferior or less competitive.
Sony is concerned that Microsoft may attempt to sabotage Call of Duty on PlayStation through various means. These could include reducing the quality and performance of the game on PlayStation compared to Xbox, ignoring PlayStation-specific features such as better controller haptics, or limiting, downgrading, or not investing in the multiplayer experience on PlayStation.
The company clarified that even if Microsoft acted in good faith, they would still have the motivation to prioritize and support the development of the Xbox version of the game. This could include using their top engineers and allocating more resources toward the Xbox version.
Microsoft later addressed Sony's concerns. In a statement to Eurogamer, the company reiterated that it has made a "guarantee of parity between Xbox and PlayStation on access to Call of Duty."
"Since the CMA issued its Provisional Findings, we have offered solutions which address its concerns and increase the deal's benefits to UK players and game developers. These include a guarantee of parity between Xbox and PlayStation on access to Call of Duty and legally binding commitments to ensure that Call of Duty is available to at least 150 million more players on other consoles and cloud streaming platforms once the deal closes," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
You can find Sony's observations on the CMA's remedies notice here. Also, don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform, our Reddit page, and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.