Microsoft Deal Just Cost Sony $20 Billion
The ink isn't even dry on Microsoft's record-breaking deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, and already, Sony is seeing the repercussions as it's pushed out of the market. Could the house that brought us Lara Croft, Crash Bandicoot (not anymore), and God of War really be the next Atari?
Unless you were taking an all-day nap yesterday, January 18 saw the gaming world explode with news that the Xbox powerhouse is looking to gobble up Activision Blizzard. The publisher holds the keys to the kingdom of everything from Overwatch to World of Warcraft, Diablo to the big hitter that is Call of Duty.
Many of us didn't see this coming, namely because Activision Blizzard is caught in an ongoing sexual harassment lawsuit, CEO Bobby Kotick is Public Enemy No.1, and Microsoft's Phil Spencer said the company was "changing" the way it handles Activision Blizzard. It was all a ruse.
What Does The Activision Blizzard Deal Mean For Sony?
As Activision Blizzard's tumbling stock prices skyrocketed at just the right time for the troubled publisher, Sony's went in reverse. According to Bloomberg, the $69 billion Activision Blizzard buyout saw Sony stock prices tumble by 13% in Tokyo. This is the biggest drop since 2008.
Taking a hit in the wallet, it means Sony has just lost $20 billion off its market value. The news comes after Microsoft seemingly solidified its future with Game Pass and announced it has crossed the milestone of 25 million subscribers. With a plethora of Activision Blizzard games poised to join these ranks, Game Pass continues to be Phil Spencer's golden goose.
Discussing what's next for Sony, Amir Anvarzadeh of Asymmetric Advisors said, "Sony will have a monumental challenge on its hands to stand on its own in this war of attrition. With Call of Duty now most likely to be added exclusively to the Game Pass roster, the headwinds for Sony are only going to get tougher."
Can Sony Recover From The Microsoft Deal?
We were warned the console wars were dying down, but then along comes Spencer to light the fires with a flamethrower. In the near future, we can expect Xbox sales to go through the roof, which will presumably put a dent in the figures that the PlayStation 5 has been massively outselling the Xbox Series.
Then again, Sony still has a huge year ahead with releases for the likes of Horizon Forbidden West and God of War Ragnarok. Let's also remember Insomniac is firmly in Sony's pocket with titles including Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and the mysterious Wolverine game. Unfortunately, expect the divide between PlayStation and Xbox owners to only grow.
The problem is, the Activision Blizzard deal comes not long after Microsoft made the already gargantuan purchase of Bethesda that gave it everything from The Elder Scrolls to Fallout. A major release coming in 2022 is the Xbox-exclusive Starfield - which is the first big title to come from the Bethesda partnership.
Sony has traditionally outpaced Microsoft in terms of exclusives, but you only have to look at what's on the docket to imagine this won't always continue to be the case. In particular, the concept of an Xbox-exclusive The Elder Scrolls 6 is enough to have us quaking in our boots for Sony. Thankfully, the factoid that 2018's God of War is one of the best-selling games of all time has us hopeful for another strong year for Sony.
Losing $20 billion overnight might not be the best start to a week, but it remains to be seen how Sony responds. Jim Ryan has already promised a slew of new exclusives and studio acquisitions, so we could be playing the long game here. Still, it's baffling to think of a world where Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon could be Xbox exclusives.