In addition to laying bare the scale of its budgets for modern blockbusters like The Last of Us Part 2 and Horizon Forbidden West, poorly redacted documents published as part of the Microsoft vs. FTC court battle have shone a light on the importance of Activision‘s Call of Duty business to Sony.
As reported by The Verge, the confidential information was seemingly redacted with a pen, but when the documents were scanned some details remained clearly visible. After this was realised, the documents were pulled from public viewing.
One document provided by SIE boss Jim Ryan to the FTC, which is seeking to block Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, highlighted the level of engagement of Call of Duty players on PlayStation consoles. It appears to read:
“In 2021, over [14?] million users (by device) spent 30 percent or more of their time playing Call of Duty, over 6 million users spent more than 70% of their time on Call of Duty, and about 1 million users spent 100% of their gaming time on Call of Duty.
“In 2021, Call of Duty players spent an average of [116?] hours per year playing Call of Duty. Call of Duty players spending more than 70 percent of their time on Call of Duty spent an average of 296 hours on the franchise.”
It was recently confirmed that Call of Duty software accounted for over $1 billion in sales on PlayStation consoles in 2021.
According to The Verge, Sony’s redacted document suggests Call of Duty games were worth $800 million for PlayStation revenue in the US alone that year — and seemingly $1.5 billion globally.
That figure jumps considerably when also factoring in Call of Duty players’ average annual platform spending on PlayStation hardware, accessories, subscriptions and services. The Verge claims the redacted figure appears to be $15.9 billion a year (or perhaps $13.9 billion).
Additionally, the document confirms that Sony’s existing marketing deal with Activision includes only one more Call of Duty game. “[T]he last game covered by the contract is a Call of Duty title to be released in late 2023,” it reads.
Sony has previously suggested that Microsoft could release degraded versions of Call of Duty games for PlayStation consoles should it acquire Activision – claims the Xbox maker has rejected.