A reader argues that instead of buying up smaller publishers, Microsoft should’ve just bought Sony’s PlayStation business from the start.
I’m beginning to think that Microsoft won’t get away with buying Activision Blizzard after all. Not only are they starting to sound increasingly desperate in how they justify themselves to the investigators but now we have rumors that even the ones in the US, who I would’ve thought would’ve been the biggest pushovers, are going to try and block Item. I can’t really see why they would from the position of a monopoly, but I am against the idea in principal.
All this goes back to the end of the Xbox 360 era, when Microsoft thought they were on a winning streak and didn’t need first party developers anymore, so they just ended up shutting them all down. Then that dofus in charge of the Xbox One took over and made things even worse, until Phil Spencer was brought in to replace him and, after several years of doing nothing (during which I imagine he was making his case to his bosses) suddenly started buying up the whole industry.
That in turn made other companies think they should do the same and developers, and even some small publishers, tried to make themselves look more attractive as purchases. It’s rushing headlong into a situation now, where three or four companies are going to end up owning everything and surely most people, no matter their allegiances, can see that’s a bad idea.
The situation has gotten so absurd now that Microsoft is not only pretending that Call Of Duty is not a big deal, and not the reason it wants to buy Activision Blizzard, but they’re openly admitting that Sony makes better games than them. It’s a ploy, of course, to make themselves look like the one at a disadvantage but it drives home the fact that at the end of the day all Microsoft wants is to be like Sony, at least when it comes to games.
They look at Sony with their fan loyalty (something they’ve also mentioned a lot recently) and their award winning games and that’s what they want to replicate. They don’t ever really seem to have a vision of their own and the only things they do that are different to PlayStation is technology led things like cloud gaming and backwards compatibility, that are just a side product of them being really rich.
I think it would’ve been a lot simpler and less disruptive if Microsoft had just bought Sony, maybe even when they first entered the games industry, and avoided a lot of unnecessary console wars. Sega was already experimenting with online before Xbox so the only thing you would’ve possibly missed out on is Halo not turning out the way it did.
Having two giant, warring console manufacturers, who are both trying to do essentially the same thing is just a waste. I would much rather have dozens of independent publishers and only two console manufacturers (Nintendo and Microsoft/Sony) than the alternative we’re heading for where there’s three consoles and little to no third party publishers.
You may say I’m taking things to extremes but consider how many have already been bought out and how many have said they’re happy to go for the right price. EA has said they’re open to being bought and so has Ubisoft and Take-Two. They won’t be cheap but they’re less than Activision Blizzard and instead of going to Microsoft, who at least might know what to do with them, they could easily get bought up, and probably mishandled, by Apple or Google or who knows que.
Of course, my preference would’ve been just to leave things as they were, but that boat has clearly sailed. But maybe if Microsoft is denied Activision Blizzard, and they still have some change knocking about in their pocket, they will look at buying or merging with Sony. Although I fear most of the damage is already done and the era of the third party publisher is coming to an end…
By reader Cranston
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