In a document sent to the Brazilian government to justify its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft said that Sony goes as far as paying developers to ban them from publishing their games on Xbox Game Pass. Check out the complete details below.
Microsoft Accuses Sony of Paying Developers to Block Xbox Game Pass Titles
According to the Redmond giant, the Japanese company would actively try to “inhibit the growth” of the subscription service by prohibiting development teams from releasing their games on that platform. The comments come in response to allegations raised by Sony in response to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision.
“Considering that exclusivity strategies have been at the core of Sony’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the games industry, and that Sony is a leader in the distribution of digital games, Sony’s concern with possible exclusivity of Activision‘s content is incoherent, to say the least,” Microsoft claims in the documents. “It only reveals, once again, a fear about an innovative business model that offers high-quality content at low costs to gamers, threatening a leadership that has been forged from a device-centric and exclusivity-focused strategy over the years.”
“Indeed, Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been obstructed 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,” furthermore claims the documents published by Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE).
It is not clear how these practices referenced by Microsoft would have been implemented. Rather than explicitly writing within a contract that a certain title does not end up on Xbox Game Pass, for example, Sony may have simply acquired the exclusive rights to publish it within its subscription catalog. As things stand, Microsoft’s accusation, however strong, would need more details to reason on what happened.
As it was pointed out, some sections of the document are hidden, probably for confidential reasons. It is certainly not uncommon to see such deals in the world of video games, although it seems that this time Microsoft has chosen to point the finger directly at its competitor.