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News video games 11 August 2022, 12:29

author: Kamil Kleszyk

Microsoft Fires Shots at Sony; War at the Top in Full Swing

We may be standing on the threshold of a major war between the two giants of the electronics industry. Sony and Microsoft are bringing up increasingly bigger guns in their battle against each other. The Xbox manufacturer accused the Japanese brand of paying developers not to add their games to Xbox Game Pass.

This year began with a sensation in the gaming industry market. Media around the world were electrified by the news about Microsoft's plans to buy out Activision Blizzard for the astronomical sum of $68.7 billion. Although the deal has not yet been finalized (and probably won't be for some time), it has already become a hotbed of serious conflict.

The genesis of the conflict

As expected, the acquisition of a giant like Activision Blizzard is already making big waves in the market. Least pleased with such developments seems to be Sony, which in a recently published CADE report (by Brazil's Administrative Council for Economic Defense) has openly expressed its concerns about Microsoft's move. The Japanese warn that such a deal could upset the balance of the entire industry.

Sony's hypocrisy

It didn't take long for the Redmond giant to respond. With its statement (part of which was quoted by a ResetEra user), sent to the aforementioned CADE, Microsoft seeks to speed up the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard by responding to doubts and controversy, and in doing so accuses the Japanese rival of hypocrisy, reproaching it for having one of the largest offerings of exclusive games.

"(...) the use of exclusive arrangements has been at the heart of Sony's strategy to strengthen its presence in the gaming industry. MS says that in addition to owning exclusive first-party content, Sony has also entered into agreements with third-party publishers to secure other forms of exclusivity with respect to certain games, such as marketing exclusivity or exclusivity rights with respect to downloadable content. Seeing how Sony is a leader in the distribution of digital games, MS sees Sony's concern about the eventual exclusivity of Activision's content as incoherent."

Strong allegations

However, this is nothing compared to what the Xbox manufacturer declared later on. According to the accusations of the American giant, PlayStation is supposed to pay developers not to add their games to the offer of Xbox Game Pass and other competing subscription services (via VGC).

“Indeed, Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been obstructed by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth. Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”

Admittedly such platform deals have been commonplace in the gaming industry, and a reference to PlayStation blocking third-party games appearing in Game Pass was even included in documents disclosed as part of last year's Epic vs. Apple lawsuit. Nevertheless, such a strong response from Microsoft certainly won't escape Sony's attention. Most likely, we will soon receive a response from the Japanese company on the matter.

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