Microsoft responds to Sony over Activision-Blizzard takeover

The question is complex, and its answer is clearly not binary or unequivocal. We will therefore beware of any dogmatism on this subject, but rather of trying to tell you the information reported in recent hours.

Since the surprise takeover of the Activision-Blizzard-King behemoth by Microsoft (for the modest sum of 68.7 billion dollars), competitors, various industry players and the public are still awaiting confirmation or its rejection by the world’s financial authorities.

In this complicated case, Sony had, logically, decided against the acquisition deemed “anti-competitive” in his eyes. This is indeed what the Japanese firm declared to the CADE, competent authority for the study of the file in Brazilstating that: “Call of Duty is so popular that it influences users’ console choice and its community of loyal gamers is too entrenched for a competitor to compete with a similar product on an equivalent budget”.

The response from the American giant therefore arrived recently from the Brazilian authorities in a 27-page document denying Sony’s accusations. And the least we can say is that it is dense, very dense, and does not beat around the bush. Rather than paraphrase the report, you will find many quotes from it, with the various points discussed. For those who would like it and who are Portuguese speakers, we enclose this one in its original version.

According to Microsoft, Sony would be the only company to declare that CoD is in a genre of its own without competition even though “Ubisoft and Bandai-Namco in particular do not complain about it”. Further, Microsoft declares that if Sony does not want to see the CoD games on the Game Pass in day one, it is because according to them the Japanese brand “feels strong resentment about having to compete with Microsoft’s subscription service”she doesn’t want attractive subscription services to threaten its dominance in the console game digital distribution market (…) in other words, Sony protests against the introduction of new monetization models capable of calling into question its economic model”.

Regarding the qualification of “loyal customers” that Sony gives to CoD players and which would then make the license a “category of games in its own right in which no competitor could compete”, the answer is just as clear: “Sony’s Playstation has an established base of brand-loyal gamers. Such a finding does not lead to the conclusion that the Playstation is a separate market from all other consoles. . This extrapolation is even taxed with the very strong qualifier of “unjustifiableby Microsoft officials.

As for the accusation that the availability of Activision-Blizzard licenses on the Game Pass would make them inaccessible to those who do not subscribe to Xbox services, the answer is detailed in several points:

  • Lhas MS strategy is not to remove content from players, CoD and others will remain available for purchase for Playstation players”. About CoD, which particularly crystallizes the debates, it is important to remember that last January, Sony had declared that the game had to remain cross-platform for “contractual reasons”. What’s more, Microsoft also points out that depriving itself of the profits made by the sale of the many Playstation copies of the game would be a very bad business strategy given the installed base of Sony consoles.
  • Furthermore, “The data shows that gamers view subscription services as just one way to access games. Thus, by these assertions, Sony ignores the dynamic nature of subscription services. There are also many other game distribution channels and subscription services, many of which include content not available on Xbox.» . And especially since Playstation has recently developed its own subscription service.
  • Microsoft does not hesitate to recall that Playstation’s strategy has for a long time revolved around arranging exclusivity agreements to strengthen its position in the industry games.
  • Note that a point of defense appears hidden for reasons of confidentiality.

Finally, last but not least, to end in apotheosis and since the best defense is attack, Microsoft also claims that Sony would actively try tohinder Game Pass expansion by paying certain developers “blocking rights” to not add their content to Microsoft’s subscription service. To support its assertion, the firm states that this blocking by Playstation had been revealed during the Epic Vs Apple trial last year.

Eventually, we find ourselves faced with two completely separate business models, and Microsoft thunderously declares:

“It only reveals, once again, a fear (from Sony) facing an innovative business model that offers high-quality content at low prices to gamers, threatening a leadership that has been forged from a device-centric and exclusivity-driven strategy over the years”

Let’s bet and hope that the debate remains courteous and respectful among all players in the industry as well as among players, to perhaps let these different models coexist which ultimately will only ever be complementary offers for all video game enthusiasts. , whatever they are.

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