Updated: Aug. 17, 2022

Microsoft accuses Sony of preventing games from being added to Game Pass

Microsoft has accused Sony of preventing developers from adding games to Xbox's subscription service.

Microsoft argued to Brazilian regulators last week that Call of Duty was not a necessary game series, while Sony argued that it was. Microsoft accused Sony of attempting to "inhibit growth" of Game Pass in the latest episode of the Activision Blizzard acquisition drama unfolding in Brazil.

Microsoft has been attempting to persuade regulatory agencies around the world that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is not unfair to its gaming competitors. According to The Verge, Sony pays developers not to put their games on the Xbox maker's subscription service.

"Sony's desire to stifle such growth has hampered Microsoft's ability to continue expanding Game Pass," Microsoft claimed in an August 9 filing. "Sony pays for 'blocking rights' in order to keep developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services."

Platform exclusivity agreements are common in the gaming industry, and it's unclear whether this refers to a clause that prevents games from appearing on Xbox services during the exclusivity period, or to stricter terms. A document relating to PlayStation exclusivity was leaked by Capcom, and page three states that exclusives cannot appear on competitors to PlayStation subscription services. Google Stadia, Game Pass, and other similar services were among them. A media firm contacted both Microsoft and Sony but received no responses by the time this article was published.

Sony has previously criticised Microsoft's dominance in the gaming industry. Just last week, the console manufacturer told CADE that Call of Duty was an "essential game" that no one could compete with. Microsoft disagreed and painstakingly laid out examples of Sony's preference for exclusivity with their big-name releases in this latest filing.

Since someone posted translations of the Administrative Council For Economic Defense (CADE) proceedings on ResetEra, gamers have speculated on whether the publishers' complaints are valid or not. It's a touchy subject because Activision Blizzard's acquisition will undoubtedly have a seismic impact on the gaming ecosystem, but neither platform holder's hands are clean. Following the announcement of Microsoft's acquisition of the Call of Duty publisher, Sony pursued its own major acquisition of Bungie, the maker of Destiny 2.

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