SONY had previously refused to "put up" Xbox Game Pass subscriptions on the PlayStation platform, Microsoft said. The ongoing acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has led to increased conflict between the two companies, as SONY PlayStation believes that Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass will prove to be anti-competitive. 'The situation is more complicated than it seems,' Microsoft said in a response provided through the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority.
As Tom Warre shared on Twitter, Microsoft is responding to PlayStation's argument that buying the Call of Duty franchise would be "good" for the Xbox subscription service. In other words, offering Call of Duty games through Xbox Game Pass instead of other subscription services would be an anticompetitive act that would irreparably harm SONY's own efforts. Microsoft has several arguments against SONY's view, many of which revolve around SONY's own approach to gaming subscriptions.
First, Microsoft hinted that it was trying to offer Xbox Game Pass on PlayStation. Presumably, this will make it clear that Microsoft is not trying to restrict Call of Duty exclusivity to any one hardware platform through subscription purchases. If SONY said exclusivity would hurt its own consoles, Microsoft said it would be more than willing to bring Xbox Game Pass to their platforms, where PlayStation players can get Call of Duty games. However, SONY blocked Xbox Game Pass on the PlayStation.
Microsoft also believes SONY has overstated its investment in a gaming subscription service. Microsoft said SONY's own priority was to "protect its revenue from the sale of newly released games", an approach that had proved successful given its market leadership. Microsoft said SONY could make its PlayStation Plus subscription service more competitive by offering a variety of games it doesn't currently have. But choosing not to do so earlier shows SONY's previous lack of interest in competing in this market.
While Microsoft tried to undercut SONY's argument from a number of angles, there was also a tone that really cut to the heart of the matter, IT House has learned. That is, SONY's primary purpose is not fairness or whether Microsoft has become anticompetitive. It's that SONY sees a clear benefit to PlayStation from slowing or blocking Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
It is unclear whether PlayStation's opposition will have any significant impact on Microsoft. Activision Blizzard's $69 billion acquisition is being closely watched in both the European Union and Britain, and rightly so. But even without further obstacles, Microsoft could close the deal much later than expected.
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