Report Reveals How Activision Blizzard Merger Would Quickly Make Xbox a Live Service Juggernaut
EA is now the most popular game publisher by monthly active users (MAU) on PlayStation and Xbox, according to new data from Ampere Analysis. But with a successful acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Xbox is well positioned to surpass it.
According to Ampere Analysis, EA has consistently been the top publisher on PlayStation and Xbox based on MAU share since September, when Ampere Analysis began tracking. Analyst Piers Harding-Rolls told IGN that he believes EA’s dominance has been around for “a while.”
Since September, EA has consistently held over 16% of MAU’s market share. Epic and Activision Blizzard are vying for his second spot, hovering between 9% and almost 15% of the MAU market share, with Activision Blizzard hitting 10 with the launch of Overwatch 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. It overtakes Epic in May and November. Of course, we continue to rely primarily on Fortnite.
Xbox maintains a surprising lead on PlayStation
In terms of first-party platform holders, Microsoft has held between 6% and 8% of the MAU market share during that time, trailing Take-Two. Sony has been trailing Microsoft, but briefly overtook it around the time God of War: Ragnarok was released late last year.
With fewer console sales and fewer users playing first-party games, why is Microsoft significantly ahead of Sony in MAU? It is due to Minecraft available on the platform.
“In terms of pure volume, about 35% of Xbox and PlayStation users playing Microsoft games are on PlayStation,” Harding-Rolls said.
So if the acquisition goes ahead, it could mean Activision Blizzard is off the charts, and Microsoft could challenge EA’s lead, “potentially capturing more than double Sony’s market share”.
But so far, EA’s success is due to a diverse portfolio that includes games like Apex Legends, Madden NFL 23, UFC 4, Need for Speed Heat, The Sims 4, and Battlefield 2042. Play is bundled with Xbox Game Pass.
Of course, EA’s crown jewel is FIFA, and not just the latest. FIFA 23 had him the highest-ranked game in February’s Daily Engagement, but Harding-Rolls points out that his three older generations of FIFA are in the top 10 games by his MAU. Apparently, more people played FIFA 20 on both PlayStation and Xbox in February than the new Dead Space remake released at the end of January.
Whether or not Activision Blizzard will finally bring the power of its live service to Microsoft remains to be seen. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission recently approved the deal last week, and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has issued a positive statement that there are fewer concerns that such a move would harm competition.
But the deal is still subject to approval in other countries, including the United States, and legal experts IGN spoke to said the Federal Trade Commission will halt the acquisition when hearings begin this August. They were divided as to what to do.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. you can find her on her twitter @duck valentine.