Following up on the response to the UK Markets and Competition Authority, sony has argued that Microsoft made Starfield and future releases from The Elder Scrolls were exclusive to Xbox after its acquisition of Zenimax. This is according to the medium Mp1stSony made the statement as part of its arguments that Microsoft’s claims to stick with future cross-platform releases are not relevant to the current situation with its impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“First, Microsoft argues that ‘its past business practices are consistent with its stated position’ that it does not intend to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation (or downgrade access to it),” Sony said in its statement. “This is hard to square with what actually happened. The CMA “reviewed Microsoft’s strategy after its previous acquisitions” and found that Microsoft “typically makes Xbox-exclusive games.” Microsoft has never disputed this.”
“Microsoft likes to argue that, with its previous acquisitions, it didn’t make the existing released games it acquired exclusive to Xbox. But the foreclosure concern in this case isn’t about previous Call of Duty releases. It’s about the impact of Microsoft making exclusive new Call of Duty releases (which are released every year), as it has done for new Starfield and Elder Scrolls releases following the acquisition of ZeniMax in 2021. As the FAQ explains, these releases were announced in 2018 and were not expected to be Xbox exclusives at the time. It was only after acquiring ZeniMax that Microsoft’s Phil Spencer revealed that, all along, the deal had been about “delivering great exclusive games.”
Second, Microsoft points to Minecraft as an example of an acquisition where it did not pursue exclusivity. But this example is not relevant for an exclusivity strategy regarding future releases of call of duty. Minecraft is a single launch game that is already in the hands of users: unlike call of duty, there are no future releases of Minecraft. The CMA correctly notes that Minecraft’s “legacy monetization model of a one-time fee for lifetime access and updates differs significantly from call of duty, where users buy the new premium iteration of the game every year for a higher fee.” Therefore, SIE agrees with the FAQ that the most relevant indicator of Microsoft’s intentions regarding the exclusivity of call of duty it’s the ZeniMax deal.”
Sony recently also admitted that when it comes to market share, Game Pass is way ahead of PlayStation Plus. The company argued that this would incentivize Microsoft to affect PlayStation releases for future games. Call of Dutyreleasing lower versions on Sony platforms or keeping it exclusive to Game Pass.