Microsoft has claimed that Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to keep games away from its Xbox Game Pass service. But is it as bad as it seems?
Details of Microsoft’s accusations were revealed in documents filed to Brazil’s national competition regulator, for the review of the pending Activision Blizzard takeover.
Microsoft throws shade at Sony
“Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth,” read a filing to the Administrative Council for Economic Defence.
It continued: “Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”
At quick glance, it might seem that Sony is being the bad guy by paying for blocking rights against Xbox Game Pass. Sure, it’s anti-consumer, but it’s nothing new. Especially within the video game industry. In fact, for that matter, it’s common practice in all forms of entertainment.
In my opinion, Sony paying out to prevent Xbox Game Pass releases is no different to most exclusivity deals. Whether it be a timed exclusive or a permanent exclusive. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of timed exclusive deals, but it is what it is.
Timed-exclusive are not consumer friendly
Whether it’s Sony or Microsoft, money is always being thrown around for some kind of exclusive rights. Even non-exclusive games that are marketed in favour of a particular console will have a timed deal one way or another.
Take for example Resident Evil Village. This is a multi-format game for PC, PlayStation as well as Xbox. However, it’s heavily marketed for PlayStation.
So, with Sony paying for that marketing, they don’t want potential customers to think: “Oh, that game looks great, I’ll buy that!” Then that customer realises that said game is available on Xbox Game Pass. Meaning that the customer has no need to buy the PlayStation version if they subscribe to Game Pass.
Paid exclusivity won’t be going away
From a Microsoft perspective, they do the exact same thing. Picking two games from a hat of many, most of us know that Scorn and Stalker 2 are coming to Xbox Game Pass.
Yet, these are timed-exclusive games and will one day come to PlayStation. However, it’s possible that those games will never come to PS Plus due to the Microsoft investment.
Microsoft will be spending a lot of money to draw in customers to play games on Xbox Game Pass, hoping to prevent them from buying the games on PlayStation.
At the end of the day, Microsoft nor Sony are any worse than the other when it comes to exclusive deals. Timed-exclusive deals are always ant-consumer friendly, but sadly, it’s just part of the industry.
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Featured Image Credit: /Source: The Verge