In a lengthy document submitted to the Brazilian government as part of an investigation into Microsoft’s Activision acquisition of Blizzard, Microsoft claims that Sony grants developers “blocking rights” to prevent games from appearing on Xbox Game Pass.
The allegation appears in a 27-page rebuttal by Sony Recent objections to Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) as part of its investigation into Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. Much of Sony’s argument focused on Call of Duty – which it claimed had “no rival” and was “so popular that it influenced users’ console choices” – with the PlayStation maker suggesting, among other things, that Call of Duty be included in Microsoft’s Game Pass. Duty levied on services will hamper its ability to compete.
Microsoft’s response is as broad as Sony’s initial objections, which it previously managed to extend Game Pass without Activision Blizzard’s title touching all of this – suggesting that Call of Duty may not be as “essential” as Sony claims – a reiteration of its assurances that This will not make Call of Duty an Xbox console exclusive.
This is where Microsoft takes a swipe at Sony, pointing out (according to a Google-translated version of its filing) that for all its concerns about exclusivity, “the use of exclusivity is at the heart of Sony’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the gaming industry”.
Microsoft says Sony’s concerns are “irrelevant”, given PlayStation’s dominant market share, the company is a leader in digital game distribution – especially when Microsoft claims Sony has actively hindered the growth of Game Pass by paying developers to add content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services. “‘blocking rights'” to give.
Ultimately, Microsoft argues, Sony’s fear is not that the acquisition will hamper its ability to compete, but that the Game Pass business model of providing “players with low-cost, high-quality content” will threaten market leadership “forged from one device.” “-focused strategy and exclusivity”.
The Full document There’s more in the way of rebuttals to Sony’s claims (including Microsoft’s note that, of all the major industry players publicized by the Brazilian government about the acquisition, Sony was the only one to object), and it’s worth a read.
Expect more back and forth as acquisitions from other countries come under more scrutiny before any regulatory approval. Assuming Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard purchase doesn’t get regulators wrong, the process is expected to be completed by next summer.
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