Microsoft has put forward an interesting question in their written response to the CMA’s provisional findings. Did you ever consider how much it would actually cost to move from PlayStation to Xbox?
Sony has claimed that this very scenario would happen if Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard King, and then decided to make Call of Duty exclusive to their platform. But what would a move like that actually entail?
Here’s what Microsoft has to say about this, on page 24 of the document named MICROSOFT’S RESPONSE TO THE CMA’S REMEDIES NOTICE, dated February 22, 2023:
“A PlayStation gamer who would switch to an Xbox would incur between $240 – $500 on a next generation console. In addition to this, if they decided to sell their PlayStation to cover the cost of the new console, they would need a significant investment to replace their PlayStation library of games.
Based on Xbox telemetry data, gamers who played CoD on Xbox purchased digitally [REDACTED] games in 2022. Assuming an average price of $70 per game this would be a cost of $[ REDACTED] just to replace the games they purchased in one year. The cost to replace their entire library of games would be materially higher.”
Not only are these costs likely to dampen the switching rates for CoD gamers, they also act as a huge disincentive to the wider PlayStation user base to follow their friends to Xbox. The Provisional Findings do not provide any evidence to explain how the hypothetical withholding of one piece of content would result in meaningful numbers of gamers being willing to incur these switching costs.”
So that’s $ 240 to $ 500 for the Xbox Series console alone, based on which SKU that hypothetical PlayStation gamer would want. On top of that, they would buy several video games, to the tune of $ 70 a game.
Many of those PlayStation games are probably not on Xbox, and on an individual level, they may buy an equivalent game or not. For example, trading in Gran Turismo 7 for Forza Motorsport. But even if we were talking five games, if this isn’t such an avid gamer, that would still be about $ 350, bringing the potential cost to around $ 850.
But even that isn’t the end of it. Both PlayStation and Xbox have subscription services you need to pay to have online, so you also have to deal with switching between subs. A player will likely have to accept they lost some money there too.
This could go on and on. If this gamer has a racing wheel, fightstick, flight stick, etc, they will need to replace those too.
If there is a time when a gamer would credibly switch between PlayStation and Xbox, it would be at the start of each console generation. Call of Duty, as huge a franchise as it is, has lost a lot of cachet over the years, over Activision’s unsavory business practices, and the varying quality of the Call of Duty games through the years. It would take more for someone to decide to pay $ 500 to $ 1000, or even more, to move to a completely different console.