Sony believes that the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft is a threat to the industry, Microsoft replies that it is the first to bet on exclusives and block the rights of video games to prevent their availability on other support and services.
At the beginning of the year, Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard for more than 68 billion dollars. An earthquake not only for the video game industry, but also for the entertainment industry as a whole. Such an acquisition immediately raised fears, and must be investigated by the various regulatory authorities around the world.
In Brazil, CADE is responsible for ensuring compliance with competition laws. As part of its takeover investigation, it interviewed Microsoft and many of its competitors to judge whether Activision Blizzard’s move into Xbox’s hands could harm the market by creating a dominant position. And unlike other authorities, the CADE publishes many documents, rich in information and crisp details.
Sony fears Activision-Blizzard takeover and the power of Game Pass
We were already reporting Sony’s fears regarding a potential Xbox and PC exclusivity for Call of Duty. Microsoft has responded to its rival and CADE by claiming that Call of Duty isn’t as important to PlayStation as Sony claims, as the license faces a lot of competition. The American group also recalls that of the 20 best-selling consoles of 2021, there are only two Activision-Blizzard games.
However, Microsoft’s remarks should be qualified by recalling that Activision-Blizzard puts its income on subscriptions and the game service more than on game sales. Moreover, the Redmond firm ensures that its strategy is not based on the removal of content for players, and that it does not plan to make Call of Duty unavailable on PlayStation. Such a decision would even make him lose a lot of money.
Microsoft even reverses the accusation by pointing the finger at Sony’s practices in an attempt to undermine competition and strengthen its leading position in the console market. According to the company, resorting to arrangements to secure exclusives has been central to Sony’s strategy to bring and keep PlayStation at the top. Microsoft refers to both first-party games from Sony studios and third-party titles from third-party studios.
Microsoft evokes “the fear [de Sony] faced with an innovative business model”who “threatens a leadership forged over years from a device-centric strategy [les consoles PlayStation] and focused on exclusives”. Without being more specific, Microsoft finally accuses Sony of paying publishers and developers in order to “block rights” games and prevent their release on Game Pass.