Microsoft and Sony have clashed with regulators around the world since the Xbox owner’s intention to acquire Activision Blizzard in January. The acquisition raised concerns from the responsible authorities that it could be an anti-competitive practice. One of the latest chapters was about the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) in Brazil, which was revealed this Wednesday (10) by The Verge website. In a filing with the board, Microsoft accused Sony of paying developers to block games from Xbox Game Pass, preventing development of the service. Also, another argument used is that PlayStation fans are more loyal than Xbox fans.
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According to Microsoft, fans of the PlayStation brand are more loyal than Xbox fans and would not switch consoles to buy Activision Blizzard — Photo: Disclosure / Activision Blizzard
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The statement used in the document is based on a 2019 survey by top SEO companies, where the PlayStation brand was the most loyal among video game fans, followed by Xbox consoles and then Nintendo platforms. Sony’s main justification is that the Call of Duty franchise is a “blockbuster” game that has no competitors, and that becoming exclusive would make competition impossible. O TechTudo Both companies were contacted for comment on the case, but have not yet received a response. Learn more about the document and Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard below:
Microsoft buys Activision Bizzard
It started on January 18, 2022, when Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, the largest acquisition ever recorded in the gaming market. The main body that needs approval for the takeover is the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which asked the companies for more information in March.
If all the data is provided, the acquisition could be approved in August, leaving only matters to be resolved in regulatory bodies around the world, such as CADE in Brazil. With the acquisition, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company behind Sony and Tencent.
Microsoft has announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard, the company responsible for Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo and more.
Will Activision Blizzard Games continue on PlayStation?
Shortly after the acquisition was announced, Microsoft made a statement saying it intended to keep Activision Blizzard games on PlayStation, including Call of Duty, even after the termination of binding pre-existing agreements between the companies. Despite this claim, doubts persisted as the Xbox owner made similar announcements when it acquired Zenimax, Bethesda’s parent company, before announcing upcoming titles that would be exclusive to Xbox and PC consoles, such as Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6.
Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax, Bethesda titles such as Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 became exclusive to Xbox consoles — Photo: Disclosure / Bethesda
Is Call of Duty necessary?
In Sony’s filing against Microsoft’s acquisition of CADE, the PlayStation owner claims that Call of Duty is an unparalleled AAA-like game that stands out as a gaming category in its own right and should be considered a gaming segment. Therefore, Activision Blizzard’s inclusion of content in the Xbox Game Pass catalog represented a “tipping point” in the market. In the New Zealand Trade Commission, where a similar investigation is underway, Microsoft claims that there is nothing unique about the games developed by Activision Blizzard, which makes them necessary for competitors.
According to the document, other companies were consulted in CADE’s assessment, such as Ubisoft, which stated that “there is no video game title that does not have close competition” and Bandai Namco, which stated: “The biggest success. [da Activision Blizzard] is a Call of Duty game that has competitors like Battlefield, Valorant, Destiny, among others.” A player has more than one gaming device.
According to Sony, the Call of Duty series is essential to the success of PlayStation and would not be able to compete if it became exclusive or moved to Xbox Game Pass — Photo: Disclosure / Activision Blizzard
Is Sony Paying To Protect Games From Game Pass?
One of Microsoft’s statements in the CADE document caused a stir in social networks and international media. The company said Sony pays developers “blocking rights” to keep their games free from Xbox Game Pass and other competing subscription services. According to Microsoft, the company’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass would be hindered by Sony.
Microsoft also argues that its subscription model emerged as a competitive response to failure in the “console wars” and therefore needed to offer additional value to gamers over the “buy-to-play” model (buy-to-play) from Sony. According to the company, the inclusion of Activision Blizzard content on Xbox Game Pass will not reduce competition, but increase it.
According to Microsoft, Sony is paying developers to block rights to keep games from leaving Xbox Game Pass — Photo: Playback/Xbox Wire
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