Saturday03 December 2022

Microsoft Buys Activision, Sony Buys Bungie the Console Wars Heat Up

Reading time is around minutes.

The war between Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation has been going on for a while. As the two companies fight it out the consumer, for the most part, has been the winner. Each new generation of console has brought with it new technologies, better performance and really upped the game regardless of which camp you are in. It is true that prices have also gone through the roof, but that has not stopped eager fans from buying out inventory as soon as it hits the shelves.

Now the battle lines have moved from away from the fight to see who is the fastest or most powerful, at least for the moment. Now the war has spilled over completely into content. Both Microsoft and Sony are gobbling up game development studios. In 2020, Microsoft bought ZeniMax Media which brought with it Bethesda. They incorporated the Bethesda product catalog into Xbox Game Pass. Bethesda had acquired id games which only added to the value from the purchase. Now Microsoft has scooped up the troubled company, Activision Blizzard.
The purchase set Microsoft back a cool $68.7 Billion, but also gives them control over how the content is developed and distributed. They could, technically, stop releasing versions of games for the PlayStation and starve that ecosystem of content. Now, this is not what they are going to do, but it could mean that there will be intentional delays in content that is intended for Sony. Of course, Microsoft has a bit of a battle in turning the toxic culture at Activision Blizzard around so that they are a more accepted company.

In Response to the Activision Blizzard buy, Sony has announced that it will buy Bungie, developers of the popular gaming franchise Destiny. This move is a signal to Microsoft that Sony is willing to step and fight in the content war. The buy was also not much of a shocker, there has been friction between Microsoft and Bungie in the past. Bungie is currently stating that Sony is letting them keep full developmental autonomy and control over the direction of the franchise which is good news for fans of Destiny.

The console wars are indeed heating up as Microsoft and Sony could be on the brink of a fight to buy as many game development and distribution groups as possible. Each one will hold some sort of odd mutually assured destruction option over the other. There is a very real possibility that we could be entering (or returning to) an “only for” period or console games as each tries to outdo the other.

The big buyouts by the console makers will not have much of an impact on the PC gaming community. Things there will continue pretty much as they always have. Microsoft may have a bit of an edge as they have extended Game Pass to PC versions of the games that are in the Game Pass catalog. Sony’s current PC gaming option (PS Now) is a streaming service and not entirely the same as what you can get with Game Pass. I would expect to see Sony expand the capabilities of PS Now to include full PC versions of games (and allow Keyboard and Mouse gaming) in addition to the console experience on a PC.

2022 will be an interesting year for gaming consoles. The PS5 and Xbox Series X|S are still not easy to find and purchase even accessories for them are often sold out due to the high demand and both have been out for more than a year at this stage. We just hope that this push for dominance does not begin to impact the quality of the game titles released as both Microsoft and Sony start trying to reserve funds for the next big purchase.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.