Microsoft claims Sony pays
Microsoft claims Sony pays: Microsoft has claimed Sony pays for “blocking rights” to stop developers from adding their content to Xbox Game Pass. The explosive claims are part of documents (Word doc) filed with Brazil’s national competition regulator and part of a review of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth,” claims Microsoft in an August 9th filing to the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), as translated from Portuguese. “Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”
Does this mean Sony is evil and Microsoft is casually out here revealing some dastardly business practices?
The reality is likely a little more complicated on both sides. Sony could simply be paying for exclusive rights for its own streaming services, or it may have clauses in some publishing contracts that prevent some games it publishes from being published on rival subscription services.
It’s not clear exactly what Microsoft is referring to here, but contracts for publishing games can be complex, particularly when rights for streaming and subscription services are involved. Documents filed in the Epic Games v. Apple trial last year revealed Microsoft had been considering lowering the revenue split for PC games “in exchange for the grant of streaming rights to Microsoft.”
MICROSOFT HAS ITS OWN DEALS AND CLAUSES
If Microsoft had proceeded with its plans, that could have led to the company securing exclusive streaming rights on some games, preventing them from being available on rival streaming services. It all depends on how publishing contracts are written, and both Microsoft and Sony regularly secure game exclusives that involve timed releases, console exclusivity, and lots of marketing dollars.
Microsoft is attempting to convince Brazil’s CADE regulator that it should waive the company’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is analyzing documents from Microsoft on its acquisition in the US, that correspondence is private. That’s not the case in Brazil, where its competition regulator offers up public documents that provide unique insight into the business competition between Microsoft and Sony.
Documents from Brazil’s CADE
Documents from Brazil’s CADE have been analyzed by Xbox and PlayStation fans over the past week, with posters on ResetEra highlighting the juicy parts. The regulator has been asking Sony and other Microsoft rivals about the Activision Blizzard acquisition. Sony previously responded to Brazil’s regulator claiming that it would be difficult for other developers to create a franchise that rivals Activision’s Call of Duty and that it stands out “as a gaming category on its own.”
Naturally, Microsoft disagrees, and Ubisoft, Riot Games, Bandai Namco, and Google have all highlighted competition to Call of Duty in the form of Apex Legends, Battlefield, PUBG, and more.