Tag Archives: Sony

Sony Confirms It’s Delayed Half Of It’s 12 Planned Live Service Games

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has halved the number of live service games it plans to release over the next few years, it’s confirmed.

According to VideoGamesChronicle, SIE had previously said it planned to have 12 live service titles in the market by its fiscal year ending in March 2026 – up from three during its last business year ended this March.

However, earlier this year, PlayStation’s management team confirmed that it had partnered with Destiny studio Bungie for a “rigorous portfolio review” process. According to press reports, this has led to some projects being scaled back.

During an earnings call on Thursday, Sony president, COO and CFO Hiroki Totoki seemingly confirmed that this review had results in some games being pushed back due to quality concerns.

Among the 12 titles in development are a The Last of Us online game, a Horizon online game, and an original IP from PlayStation’s London Studio.

Game Developer reported that Sony’s planned output of live-service games has hit a stumbling block, as six of those intended 12 titles have been pushed back. During its recent earnings call, president Hiroki Totoki explained the unannounced titles were being delayed due to quality concerns and ensuring they live up to PlayStation’s first-party standards.

According to Game Developer, last year, Sony made clear the company wanted in on the revenue of live-service titles like Destiny 2 (whose developer, Bungie, it now owns) and Fortnite. Since then, multiplayer spinoffs for Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us and Guerrilla Games’ Horizon franchises have been confirmed to be in development.

In the case of Naughty Dog, said spinoff was revealed to be quietly shelved this past October. Earlier in the year, it was reported that the game (currently known as Factions) was suffering from a lack of clear vision and general quality.

Kotaku reported that Sony was betting big on turning PlayStation into a live-service juggernaut, but it sounds like the platforms shift into online multiplayer games hasn’t been anywhere near as quick or smooth as it once hoped. Unlike originally planned, Sony’s president Hiroki Totoki told investors six of the company’s 12 upcoming live service games won’t arrive until 2026 and beyond.

According to Kotaku, Sony’s president went on to say that its big live service push for PlayStation remains the “unchanged policy of the company,” but that “game quality” will be the most important thing overall as it makes production and scheduling decisions.

The full slate of 12 games had originally been promised by around the end of 2025. The man who made that promise, Jim Ryan, is currently in the middle of retiring as the head of PlayStation.

Kotaku noted that live-service games have been a gold mine for the companies who have managed to make them work. Money players spend in games like Madden and Call of Duty now outpaces revenue from sales of the games themselves.

Personally, I think there is potential for live service games to be extremely fun. For example, I play a lot of Diablo IV, which is a live service game. These types of games can make it easier to group up with friends or to jump into random encounters with strangers.

Sony And Microsoft Sign A Binding 10-Year Deal To Keep Call of Duty on PlayStation

Sony has agreed to a 10-year deal for Call of Duty with Microsoft to keep the franchise on PlayStation after the proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer says Sony and Microsoft have agreed to a “binding agreement” to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation, The Verge reported.

This ends a bitter battle between the companies that has been waged both privately and publicly over the past year after Microsoft announced its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January.

According to The Verge, while Microsoft’s initial announcement doesn’t mention 10 years for Call of Duty on PlayStation, Keri Perez, head of global communications at Xbox, confirmed the 10-year commitment to The Verge. Perez later confirmed to The Verge that the deal is only for Call of Duty, though. That makes the deal similar to a 10-year agreement between Microsoft and Nintendo, but not the various deals Microsoft has struck with Nvidia and other cloud gaming platforms to bring Call of Duty and other Xbox / Activision games to rival services.

CNBC reported Sony has signed a binding, 10-year agreement with Microsoft to keep Call of Duty on its PlayStation gaming consoles after closing the Activision Blizzard acquisition, Microsoft said on Sunday.

Activision is the maker of the best-selling Call of Duty lineup. Regulators around the world had expressed significant concern about Microsoft’s power over the gaming market if an Activision acquisition was approved, CNBC reported.

Microsoft is the manufacturer of the Xbox, which competes directly with Sony’s PlayStation, prompting fears that Microsoft would be able to make games “exclusive” to its own consoles and displace Sony from competition.

According to CNBC, the deal does something to ameliorate those concerns, although Microsoft and Sony aren’t disclosing the duration of the agreement. A Microsoft spokesperson noted the deal was in place for the long term. The company has signed similar deals in the past.

Regulators in the EU signed off on the deal in May. The U.K.’s Competition and Market Authority, which has forced divestitures and blocked prior tech deals, said in Wednesday that it was prepared to negotiate with Microsoft over the terms of the deal.

Kotaku reported that Microsoft and Sony have finally reached a deal for keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation once the Activision Blizzard merger goes through. The surprise agreement comes after months of fighting between the two companies and is a sign the acquisition is all but inevitable.

According to Kotaku, it’s not immediately clear what the terms of that agreement are, and whether they are similar to proposals Microsoft recently signed with Nintendo and other cloud gaming providers. In the past, Sony has paid Activision for special benefits relating to Call of Duty, including timed-exclusive content and special marketing rights. It was also revealed during the recent court battle over the deal that Activision had leveraged its partnership with Sony to negotiate better commission rates for the franchise Xbox.

Personally, I’m hoping that this means we won’t have to hear much more about the Microsoft-Activision acquisition. It certainly seems like (nearly) everything has been resolved.

Japan’s Competition Regulator Approves Microsoft’s Acquisition

The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard after its review concluded that the deal was “unlikely to result in substantially restraining competition”, IGN reported.

The JFTC posted: “The JFTC Reviewed the Proposed Acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Inc. by Microsoft Corporation” From the post:

“Receiving notifications regarding the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Inc, (“Activision Blizzard” headquartered in the U.S.) by Microsoft Corporation (JCN8700159989374) (“Microsoft” headquartered in the U.S.; and Activision Blizzard and Microsoft are hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Parties”), the Japan Fair Trade Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “JFTC”) reviewed the transaction and reached the conclusion that the transaction is unlikely to result in substantially restraining competition in any particular fields of trade. Accordingly, the JTFC has notified the Parties that the JFTC will not issue a cease and desist order, resulting in the completion of its review.

I Overview of the Transaction

The Parties plan the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft through the acquisition of shares and the merger.

II Reviewing Process

Receipt of notifications regarding the acquisition of shares and the merger on March 10, 2023 (the start of the phase 1 review)

Clearance notification on March 28, 2023.

III Conclusion

The JFTC concluded that the transaction is unlikely to result in substantially restraining competition in any particular fields of trade.

IGN also reported that the JFTC’s decision not to challenge the merger will come as welcome news to Microsoft as it campaigns to convince regulators in holdout countries, including the United States Federal Trade Commission, that the deal will not harm competition, or increase costs for consumers.

GameSpot reported: The Japan Fair Trade Commission has reportedly closed its review of Microsoft’s attempted purchase of Activision Blizzard, stating the deal won’t suppress competition. In other words, another roadblock has been removed for Xbox to take the reins of Call of Duty, Diablo, and World of Warcraft.

GameSpot also reported that this follows the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority determining that the deal won’t stifle competition in the console space last week. The CMA does have concerns about the area of cloud gaming with the acquisition.

According to GameSpot, The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. is still scrutinizing Microsoft’s deal with Activision Blizzard, which is valued at almost $70 billion, GameSpot reported. The FTC wants more information on Xbox’s future Zenimax exclusivity, for instance, arguing that the company has gone back on its word to keep games multiplatform.

Reuters reported that the Japan watchdog informed Microsoft and Activision Blizzard it won’t call for a cease and desist of the merger.

Personally, I would like to see Microsoft acquire Activision Blizzard. It feels like this acquisition is taking way longer than it should. Sony is clearly against the acquisition, but it does not make sense to me why that is so – especially now that the JFTC has approved of the acquisition.

Microsoft Gives Sony 10 Years To Develop Call of Duty Alternatives

Microsoft has said it believes 10 years is long enough for Sony to develop rival offerings to the Call of Duty franchise, VideoGamesChronicle reported.

According to VideoGamesChronicle, regulators in the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have expressed concerns that Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard could significantly reduce PlayStation’s ability to compete given that it would see Microsoft gain ownership of the Call of Duty series, which Sony has called “irreplaceable.”

In a bid to gain approval for the deal, Microsoft has told regulators it’s willing to make each new Call of Duty game available on the PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox for a 10-year period, with full content and feature parity. In a newly published document, Microsoft has told the CMA that it believes a decade is long enough for Sony to create alternatives to Call of Duty.

Gamerant reported that while many gaming studios support Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it’s only natural that the company’s biggest rival wouldn’t be so keen on accepting it. Over the past months, Sony has come up with a whole slew of reasons why the deal should not go through without major changes to, for example, Activision Blizzard’s held IP rights, and Call of Duty is at the center of it all.

According to Gamerant, Microsoft just released a fairly heavily redacted response to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority on the topic of whether Activision Blizzard should keep Call of Duty, in the event that the acquisition gets greenlit by all the pertinent authorities. One of the most interesting comments Microsoft issued via this document is that the company believes Sony would be more than capable of producing a solid alternative to the Call of Duty franchise over the course of the next ten years.

From the document:

“Microsoft’s proposal is that the remedy will apply for a period of 10 years.

At the Remedies Hearing the CMA asked Microsoft if the 10-year duration is sufficient and whether there would be a “cliff edge” for Sony at the end of this period. The 10-year period is [redacted]. Microsoft considers that a period of 10 years is sufficient for Sony, as a leading publisher and console platform, to develop alternatives to CoD. The 10-year term will extend into the next console generation [redacted]. Moreover, the practical effect of the remedy will go beyond the 10-year period, since games downloaded in the final year of the remedy can continue to be played for the lifetime of that console (and beyond, with backwards compatibility).”

GameRant also reported that this information should be considered with additional context, of course. Specifically, Microsoft offered Sony a 10-year CoD deal, during which time the franchise would remain available on PlayStation consoles. Sony did not accept it, however, and continued issuing statements in an attempt to put the deal in a negative light with authorities.

The aforementioned document has come as a response to the CMA’s latest Remedies Hearing, where the regulator asked for Microsoft’s input on a number of issues concerning the Activision Blizzard deal.

Sony argues that Xbox’s Call of Duty offer would “irreparably harm competition” in the grand scheme of things.

In my opinion, the best thing that can happen is for the regulators to decide in favor of Microsoft. There are already some games made by Blizzard on Xbox, including the Diablo IV Early Access Beta Weekend, and the upcoming Diablo IV Open Beta. Those same betas appear to be available on PlayStation as well.

Phil Spencer Says Sony Wants to Grow At Xbox’s Expense

Public squabbling between two of the biggest console gaming companies has intensified, Kotaku reported. According to Kotaku, on a recent podcast appearance, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer blasted Sony for wanting to grow by “making Xbox smaller.”

The accusation comes after the Federal Trade Commission decided to sue to block Microsoft’s takeover of Activision because of a pattern of making recently acquired games like Starfield exclusive.

VideoGamesChronicle reported that Phil Spencer made the comments during an interview with the Second Request podcast, where the exec claimed that Sony was the “one major opposer to the [Microsoft Activision] deal.”

According to VideoGamesChronicle, Phil Spencer said: “Sony is trying to protect its dominance on the console. The way they grow is by making Xbox smaller,” Spencer said. “[Sony] has a very different view of the industry than we do. They don’t ship their games day and date on PC, they do not put their games into their subscription when they launch their games.”

VideoGamesChronicle also reported that Phil Spencer said “Sony is leading the dialogue around why the deal shouldn’t go through to protect its dominant position on console, so the thing the grab onto is Call of Duty”, Spencer told Second Request. “The largest console maker in the world raising an objection about the one franchise that we’ve said will continue to ship on the platform. It’s a deal that benefits customers through choice and access.”

Forbes reported that Xbox’s head Phil Spencer, normally an industry nice-guy, has had enough with Sony’s relentless protests to regulators over Microsoft’s attempt to purchase Activision Blizzard. These days, the gloves are coming off, and the language he’s using is as sharp as it’s ever been.

According to Forbes, the pushback to Sony’s objections is that they are transparently self-serving, and one argument Microsoft has made is to play up PlayStation’s position as market leader while downplaying Xbox’s position, including their relative lack of first party hits compared to Sony.

Forbes noted that Sony, meanwhile, very much does not want Xbox to get larger by acquiring a company with a market cap dangerously close to the entire size of Sony ($100 billion versus $70 billion). But while there’s an argument to be made about the size of the deal, it’s also pretty apparent that Sony is being obstructionist for its own sake to try and kill something that will benefit their rival and hurt them.

Personally, I don’t think anyone can know, for certain, how the FTC’s lawsuit against Microsoft will turn out. While it does appear that Sony is desperately trying to be the loudest voice against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, that doesn’t mean a court will have the same opinion as Sony does.

Sony Suspends PlayStation Sales in Russia

Sony has joined a growing number of gaming companies that have made the decision to stop selling their games and consoles in Russia. Those companies include Epic Games and Activision Blizzard, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and CD PROJEKT Red. I suspect that more gaming companies will join them and suspend their sales in Russia.

On March 9, 2021, @PlayStation tweeted: an image full of text and the PlayStation logo. It said:

“Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) joins the global community in calling for peace in Ukraine. We have suspended all software and hardware shipments, the launch of Gran Turismo 7, and operations of the PlayStation Store in Russia.

“To support humanitarian aid, Sony Group Corporation announced a US$2 million donation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the international NGO, Save the Children, to support the victims of this tragedy.”

Previously, Eurogamer reported that Sony had quietly pulled PlayStation’s new blockbuster racing game Gran Turismo 7 from sale in Russia. Today, Sony officially announced they have suspended not only Gran Turismo 7, but also all software and hardware shipments in Russia. The tweet from @PlayStation makes it official.

The Washington Post reported that the announcement by Sony proceeded its scheduled State of Play broadcast, which contained few new reveals.

According to The Washington Post, Sony hedged in its initial show announcement not to expect any updates about its next-gen virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR2, or games for that hardware; instead, the 20-minute broadcast stuck to PlayStation titles slotted for the 2022 and 2023 release calendars, most of which had been previously shown.

CNBC reported: Sony’s decision is one of the industry’s most significant moves yet. The company has the biggest presence in Russia of any console maker, according to industry insiders.

According to CNBC, “PlayStation has the largest installed base, so if a company on the console side has a particularly hard choice from a financial angle, it’s Sony,” Lewis Ward, head of gaming at research firm IDC, recently told CNBC.

Game Companies are Halting Sales in Russia and Belarus

Several gaming companies have halted sales of their games in Russia and Belarus. Those decisions could be in response to tweets posted by Ukranian Vice Prime Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Federov, who requested that gaming companies to leave the Russian market, and to block the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and games in esports.

Microsoft posted information titled “Microsoft suspends new sales in Russia” on the Microsoft On the Issues blog. President & Vice Chair, Brad Smith, wrote (in part): “We are announcing today that we will suspend all new sales of Microsoft products and services in Russia. In addition, we are coordinating closely and working in lockstep with the governments of the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, and we are stopping many aspects of our business in Russia in compliance with governmental sanctions decisions.”

Electronic Arts (EA) posted (in part) “We have made the decision to stop sales of our games and content, including virtual currency bundles, in Russia and Belarus while this conflict continues. As a result, our games and content will no longer be available for purchase in our Russian region storefront on Origin or the EA app, including through in-game stores. We are also working with platform partners to remove our titles from their stores and stop the sale of new in-game content in the region.”

Electronic Sports FIFA tweeted (in part) “…In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports has initiated processes to remove the Russian National Team and all Russian clubs from EA Sports FIFA products including: FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile, and FIFA Online. We’re also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games…”

The Verge reported that, according to a Google-translated version of the message, Nintendo stated: “Due to the fact that the payment service used in Nintendo eShop has suspended the processing pf payments in rubles, Nintendo eShop in Russia is temporally placed into maintenance mode.”

CD PROJEKT Red tweeted: (in part) “In light of the Russian military invasion of our neighboring country of Ukraine, until further notice, the CD PROJEKT Group has made the decision to halt all sales of our games to Russia and Belarus. Today, we begin working with our partners to suspend digital sales and cease physical stock deliveries of CD PROJEKT Group products, as well as all games distributed on the GOG platform, to the territories of Russia and Belarus”…

Eurogamer reported that Sony “quietly pulls PlayStation’s new blockbuster game Gran Turismo 7 from sale in Russia.” According to Eurogamer, Sony has not formally announced that game’s removal. GT7’s Russia store page now displays the text “Release date pending confirmation”.