Microsoft has responded to a FTC lawsuit about its proposed $100 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, saying that Sony requires exclusivity for certain games on its platform.
As reported by Eurogamer, Microsoft’s response to the FTC has seen the company take a swing at Sony for its practices around exclusive third-party games. Microsoft’s argument seems to be that making some games and series exclusive post-acquisition is no different to Sony buying exclusivity for third-party games.
Microsoft claims that Sony’s agreements with many third-party publishers explicitly exclude the release of the games on Xbox consoles.
“In addition to having outright exclusive content, Sony has also entered into arrangements with third-party publishers which require the ‘exclusion’ of Xbox from the set of platforms these publishers can distribute their games on,” Microsoft said in its response.
“Some prominent examples of these arrangements include Final Fantasy VII Remake, Bloodborne, the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI, and the recently announced Silent Hill 2 remastered.”
That last mention of Silent Hill 2, referring to Bloober Team’s remake of the classic game, is a little bit curious, as many assumed it would eventually come to Xbox. Konami, the publisher of the game, previously said that the game would have a 12-month exclusivity to PS5 and PC via Steam, but if Microsoft is to be believed then it may not come to Xbox at all after that exclusivity period.
As Microsoft points out, exclusivity contracts are not particularly rare in the games industry, with a number of high-profile, third-party games being exclusive in whole or in part to a particular platform. But Microsoft is pointing to these examples seemingly in an attempt to prove that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, if successful, things would largely be business as usual.
It was recently revealed by the UK’s competition regulator, the CMA, that most people were in favour of the $100 billion Microsoft deal. The regulator received over 2000 valid submissions from the public on the matter, with 75% of those submissions saying they were in support of the deal going ahead.
A lot of the public and private discussion around the deal has been about potential exclusivity of the Call of Duty series, which Microsoft has tried to dispel by offering deals to Sony, Microsoft, and Valve to keep the series on their platforms for at least ten years.
Microsoft says the deal is not “all about Call of Duty”, however, instead saying that Activision Blizzard’s mobile assets, such as Candy Crush developer King, are the key to future growth in the games industry.
Written by Oliver Brandt on behalf of GLHF.