Would you buy an expensive console just for one video game? Probably not. However, according to Sony, about 1 million PlayStation owners only play Call of Duty. That’s it. Nothing else.
The ongoing trial between Microsoft and the FTC follows after Xbox’s lawyers and execs spent more than a year trying to convince various governments to let the company buy Call of Duty and Warcraft publisher Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. The current court hearing isn’t about blocking the deal, but instead pausing it so the FTC has more time to “evaluate the antitrust merits” of the case. And as the hearing has gone on, more and more internal documents, emails, and depositions have been released, giving us juicy details about the companies involved.
For example, in a letter from PlayStation boss Jim Ryan to the FTC, we learn all sorts of interesting data on how many people are playing Call of Duty across PlayStation consoles. And yes, in this letter, Ryan says that in 2021 “about 1 million users spent 100% of their gaming time” playing just Call of Duty.
As reported by The Verge, Ryan also says that about 6 million PlayStation gamers spent more than 70% of their gaming time playing just Call of Duty. And on average, in 2021, Call of Duty players sunk over 100 hours a year playing CoD. Sony supplied these numbers to show that if Call of Duty was to become an Xbox exclusive, it would financially hurt the company and punish PlayStation players who mostly (or only) play CoD. Of course, other internal emails reveal that Sony probably isn’t that worried about losing Call of Duty.
As someone who plays countless games across every platform I own, the idea of spending 70% or even all of your gaming time on one video game seems hard to comprehend. There are so many amazing games, many free ones too, that these players could check out. Some of these games are even shooters, just like Call of Duty. But nope! Instead, these people bought a PlayStation console, hooked it up, installed Call of Duty-whatever-edition-it-was-that-year, and just played that. Wild.
The Call of Duty data wasn’t meant for the public to see
Oh and here’s something funny: You and I shouldn’t even know any of these stats!
The documents where these stats originate from were part of a series that weren’t properly redacted by whoever was meant to do that. The likely error, as theorized by some online, is they used a cheap marker that didn’t completely block out the important bits. Whoops! But we all benefit from that marker mishap and now we know more than we shouldn’t.
A similar thing happened earlier this week involving some Microsoft docs that showed other companies the tech giant was looking to acquire next. That was published without any redactions which was, seemingly, a mistake as a later version was redacted. All this secret knowledge slipping into my fingers via poorly redacted documents is quite fun. I feel like a spy in a movie. A boring movie about video game sales data, but still, a spy movie!