Last Week In PlayStation #16 | Sony Comments On Microsoft's Activision Purchase, PlayStation Asks Users About NFTs, And Anime Streaming Site Crunchyroll Ends PS3 Support

Hello and welcome to the sixteenth edition of Last Week In PlayStation, the weekly PlayStation newsletter here on platyview.com. 

Publishing every Monday evening India time (early evening Central European time and late morning Pacific time), the series will round up all of last week's PlayStation news and other happenings into one single article. 

This edition will cover all PlayStation news from 1st August '2022 to 7th August '2022.

This article marks the start of the 4th full month of Last Week In PlayStation. When I started this series in the second last week of April, I honestly didn't expect it to survive past May. But alas it did. And I have really enjoyed pumping these out every week. They allowed forced me to keep writing each week regardless of how busy I am, and have given me a much greater insight into PlayStation's happenings.

Anyways, what I really want to say is a thank you for reading this every week. Even though these articles get nowhere as many views as my reviews or features, I am happy to see that people come to them each week for my hastily drawn-up news round-ups and random takes. Thank you.

With that said, here is what went down in the world of PlayStation last week.

Sony Comments On Microsoft's Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard, Says Call Of Duty "Influences Users' Consoles Of Choice"

Source: PlayStation

This week's big headline story comes from an unlikely source - the Brazilian government. Word about this comes via a Resetera post from user Idas, who notes that during the regulation process in Brazil for mergers and acquisitions, third parties in the same industry are asked questions about the deal taking place.     

Resertera user Idas has kindly translated all the questions and answers in their post, since, on the Brazilian government's website, this information is in Portuguese. I will highlight some of Sony's comments, but you should check out the post for more details if interested. Here are the most relevant ones.

Sony says they believe that 'players choose their gaming platform based on pricing, technical features, and available game types,' with the selection of 'available content' being the 'main factor.' They go on to say that while solo indie developers are able to create and release small games, only a 'few developers/publishers such as EA, Take Two, and Epic Games are capable of producing high-end AAA games.' Sony cites Call of Duty as an example.

This is relevant because Sony then goes on to say that 'none of these developers could create a franchise to rival Activision's Call of Duty,' even saying that the series 'stands out as a gaming category of its own.' Sony also believes 'Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users' choice of console,' and 'their network of loyal users is so ingrained that even if a competitor had the budget to develop a similar product, it would not be able to create a rival.'

Sony points out that the 'money, number of employees, millions of followers, sales of Call of Duty show how it's a very unique franchise that cannot be replaced.' To conclude this part, they say that 'Call of Duty represents an important revenue stream for the PlayStation' and it is 'one of SIE's biggest sources of revenue from third parties. 

This seems to all be said to convince the regulator that Microsoft's purchase of Activision is harmful to the rest of the industry, especially to PlayStation and its consumers. What I don't see the logic behind, however, is the comment about Call of Duty's influence on consumers' console choices. It seems like a no-brainer that any franchise beloved by so many will influence their choice of gaming platform if it was to become some sort of exclusive.

In these questions and answers, Sony also comments on subscription services. The paraphrased answers from the Resetera post read:

"They agree that subscription services compete with games purchased for a one-time fee. But they think that the lowest upfront costs of subscription services could be anti competitive in relation to publishers who recoup the significant investments in games by selling them for an upfront fee. They also think that this could harm consumers by reducing the quality of the games. They say that over the past five years, Game Pass has grown to capture approximately 60-70% of the global subscription services market (that marketshare is even greater in Brazil, where Game Pass represents approximately 70-80% of the PC subscription services market). They believe that it would take several years for a competitor – even with substantial investments – to create a rival effective for Game Pass."

Sony seems to be trying to push its weight around in a weird attempt to slow down or possibly stop this deal from going through. But regardless of these comments that paint Microsoft's moves as anti-competitive and/or anti-consumer, I think the deal will go through fair and square. Xbox has already noted their commitment to keeping Call of Duty multiplatform, and they would be one of the last to backtrack on such a statement.

PlayStation Inquires About NFTs In A Survey To Users

PS wrap-up 2021 cover, not NFTs! Source: PlayStation Blog

PlayStation and SIE have reportedly started asking questions about NFTs. In a survey to users as part of a 'special PlayStation quest at EVO', as reported by Twitter user @snorlaxownz, the company looks to be asking about players' preferences in future possible NFT purchases.

The question reads: "Which of the following NFT/Digital Collectibles would you most be interested in collecting?" 

Options for answers include 'evo-branded', 'favourite music artists', favourite Esports players/teams', 'PlayStation items', and 'favoruite game characters'. 

As of now, this just seems like a question included in routine surveys where the company aims to gather data about players' experiences, preferences, and opinions about the platform. What is concerning, however, is the use of the term 'digital collectibles'.

If you may remember, only recently Sony announced PlayStation Stars, a brand-new loyalty program with points, and, relevant to this case, 'digital collectibles' - which they came out and clarified are not NFTs. Therefore, the use of this term in cahoots with NFTs is concerning. 

We can only hope Sony limits these 'digital collectibles' to being cool stuff to collect on the platform, not unlike PSN avatars or themes. Any pivot towards NFTs, even if not a part of PlayStation Stars, would be greatly detrimental to PlayStation's already not-great PR.

Sony-owned Anime Streaming Site Crunchyroll To End Support On PS3

Source: LevelUp

You know the week has been slow for news when I am including anime news in the big three. Don't worry, it won't take long.

Website PSU reports that Crunchyroll is ending PS3 support. The official statement notes that from August 29th onwards, 'the Crunchyroll app will no longer be available on the PlayStation Store and existing users will no longer be able to use the app.'

Crunchyroll is an online anime streaming site that has existed since 2006. It touched base with the PlayStation world when in December 2020, it was acquired by Sony in a deal worth around 1.175 billion USD. Its previous owners were AT&T and WarnerMedia. Crunchyroll was slid under the Sony Pictures Entertainment Umbrella. 

Having already owned fellow anime streaming site Funimation, Sony announced in August 2021 that it wanted to merge its anime offerings under one banner. It was announced in March of this year that Funimation and Sony's other smaller anime-related ventures would be brought under the Crunchyroll brand. 

For now, the Crunchyroll app is available to use on PS5 and PS4, though we are yet to see Sony use the service to market its PlayStation ecosystem. Maybe we will see anime perks added to PS Plus's offering in the future? Only time will tell. But for now, it's sayonara to Crunchyroll on the PlayStation 3.

Other Bits And Pieces:

Source: PlayStation Blog

  • Zuby_Tech on Twitter reports that mocap is ongoing on PlayStation second-party team Deviation Games' upcoming title. Mocap looks to be taking place at PlayStation Visual Art Service Group's studio in San Diego, California. We know about this through an Instagram post from actor David Paladino, who seems to be playing a part in this game. Last week, PlayStation Studios head Hermen Hulst visited the studio, indicating that work on the game is in full swing. 

  • In a tweet last week, Insomniac Games announced that Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered is 'Steam Deck verified!' Back in May, another PlayStation Studios game's PC port - Days Gone- was verified for Valve's exciting new handheld. This essentially means that the game has been tested and given a seal of approval from Valve in regards to its quality on the handheld console. The webhead swings onto PC (and the SteamDeck) on August 12th.

And that is all for this week's edition of Last Week In PlayStation - partly because I have very little time and there really wasn't much to talk about this week. Hopefully, news heats up as we inch ever closer to an inevitable big E3-esque PlayStation showcase. Thanks for reading, see you next time!

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