What you need to know
- Activision is being sued by the FTC to stop Microsoft’s acquisition. This lawsuit was brought forth by competition concerns in new markets, such as subscription games.
- However, a new report shows that Sony’s Jim Ryan (chief complainant against the deal) doesn’t view Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service in competition.
- Microsoft has offered Sony Call of Duty a ten-year contract, which PlayStation declined to accept.
Insider Gaming has released a new report that suggests that Jim Ryan, the PlayStation leader, is not in agreement with his public opinion on Xbox Game Pass.
Sony PlayStation is Microsoft’s main competitor in the console market. They are also among the few companies that have publicly and privately complained to global regulators regarding Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. PlayStation is often said to be “afraid of the deal” because of Call of Duty’s exclusivity. However, Microsoft has offered a 10-year guaranteed to supply Call of Duty to PlayStation.
The U.S. regulator has sought to block the deal, with the view that consolidation would supposedly “harm” competition in developing markets like cloud streaming and subscription services — two areas where Sony has apparent limited interest in investing into. Sony wants to keep the status quo of annualized retail Call of Duty. This is due to the huge amount of money that the company makes from the full $70 version of the game. Microsoft has pledged to put Call of Duty into Xbox Game Pass for $10 per month — something that would benefit everybody except Sony’s shareholders.
According to a new report, Jim Ryan could be misleading regulators about Sony’s position regarding the deal. If true, Ryan reportedly downplayed Xbox Game Pass in an internal Q&A with PlayStation employees, which would be embarrassing for the FTC, whose entire lawsuit hinges on the idea of Xbox Game Pass hurting PlayStation.
Ryan responded dismissively to questions about Xbox Game Pass, according to reports. “When we look at Game Pass, it seems like it is getting lower.” [Game Pass numbers]. When we consider Game Pass, we’ve sold more PS5s in two years than they have gathered subscribers, and they’ve been doing that for 6-7 years.”
Windows Central’s Take
If true, this episode confirms Microsoft’s earlier claims that Sony was trying to deceive regulators. The FTC has placed a large amount of emphasis on developing markets in its current regulatory ideology, blocking Meta / Facebook from acquiring VR companies in an attempt to stymie its growth — despite the fact few others are investing in this tech.
Sony also invests very little in cloud subscriptions and cloud services. PlayStation Now is still the lowest-quality option for cloud gaming. It has been left behind by NVIDIA GeForce Now, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and has fewer games and fewer server. Sony also invests minimal amounts in its PSN+ services, placing first-party games in the service only months to years after full retail versions. Microsoft, on the other hand, is offering greater value to its customers with a guarantee that it will place AAA exclusives such as Redfall, Starfield and others day-and-date into the subscription. This is far cheaper for consumers, and it is a clear dereliction to duty that the FTC would stop the growth of this market.
Jim Ryan of Sony claims that Xbox Game Pass doesn’t compete with PlayStation. This just fuels the belief that the FTC’s position on the matter is totally untenable and driven by ignorance and ideology.