During a legal negotiation between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission, a judge authorized the tech giant to dig into Sony’s files. The Japanese company will have to reveal in particular whether or not it pays video game publishers not to use Xbox Game Pass.
The Activision-Blizzard acquisition saga continues. While the US federal state tries to block the acquisition of this major video game publisher by Microsoft, accused of unfair competition, legal negotiations have convinced a judge to let Sony enter the dance.
As the US media explain the edgePlayStation’s parent company may have to reveal if and how much it is paying to block games from being available on Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s subscription video game service.
Sony will have to answer the charges
This decision comes in a particular context: after Microsoft’s decision to buy Activision-Blizzard for the modest sum of $69 billion, the US Federal Trade Commission took the company to court in December 2022. In particular, he accuses Microsoft of wanting to prevent popular Activision-Blizzard franchises (Obligations, Supervision, candy Crush Saga) to be playable among its competitors.
The technological giant prepares its defense and in turn accuses its little comrades of not respecting the rules of competition. Specifically Sony, which Microsoft already accused in August 2022 of signing exclusivity agreements on certain video games to prohibit their presence on Xbox Game Pass. Then surprise, on February 23: An FTC judge agreed with Microsoft and asked Sony to answer the charges.
What is the price of loyalty?
In his judgment, the administrative judge therefore considers that, if they exist, the details of these secret agreements are useful to Microsoft in its defense and that the company should have access to them. Therefore, the FTC asks Sony to disclose the nature and content of the contracts signed since January 1, 2019… where the amount of these exclusivity bonuses must be indicated.
A loyalty price that should be of great interest to players in the video game market, but also to consumers: as the specialized media remind us my city, these decisions to exclude or not games on certain platforms directly affect the players. A little transparency wouldn’t hurt.
However, even if the procedure reaches the end, the edge He points out that it is rare for this type of information to come out of the FTC closets, despite the fact that it did in the case between Epic Games and Apple in 2021. It only remains to cross your fingers.
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