Microsoft says that PlayStation pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent games from coming to Xbox Game Pass.
This was made in a document submitted by Microsoft on August 9th to the Brazillian Administrative Council for Economic Defense as part of a report on the company’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard.
The 27-page document is meant to be a rebuttal to PlayStation’s previous negative comments about the buyout, saying that Call of Duty (COD) “has no rival” and that it would be determinantal for PlayStation to lose it.
As Eurogamer reports, Microsoft made several counter-arguments in the documents including taking a shot at PlayStation by pointing out that they also make exclusivity deals for ‘blocking rights’ in order to stop games from coming to Xbox Game Pass.
“Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been hampered 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.”
Microsoft ended the report by saying that PlayStation’s claims are “incoherent” as their console currently holds the dominant market share and they are a leader in digital game distribution. They also reiterated that they do not plan to make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox consoles.
The reason why Brazil is holding these investigations is that they wish to analyze how Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will affect other market leaders’ ability to compete. As such, they’ve held inquiries with several tech giants including Sony, Apple, and Amazon about their views on the purchase. Resetera says that of all the companies questioned, Sony was the only one who objected to the buyout. Several other countries are conducting similar research.
Ultimately Microsft is refuting the argument that their ownership of Activision-Blizzard will negatively affect PlayStation’s business in a significant way. They also seem to be saying that PlayStation shouldn’t complain about console exclusivity when they also practice “a device-centric strategy and focused on exclusivity”.
Console exclusivity has been a common practice throughout the video game industry with PlayStation, Microsoft, and Nintendo all using it to draw consumers to their platform over the competition.
Microsoft and Sony however have both stated that they will not prevent multiplatform releases with their recent acquisitions of Activision-Blizzard (at least of COD) and Bungie so perhaps users shouldn’t worry too much about having to buy a new console for their favorite games.