Game Pass Growth Inhibited due to Alleged “Blocking Rights” Being Paid to Developers
Microsoft is on track to complete one of the most significant acquisitions in history with its purchase of Activision Blizzard, an unprecedented move and amount that will see such iconic franchises such as Call of Duty, Diablo, and many more become Xbox first-party property.
Apart from Call of Duty, one thing in the middle of it all is Game Pass, Microsoft’s fantastic subscription service that allows players to enjoy some of the latest games for a monthly subscription fee. Obviously, once the acquisition is completed, Microsoft could possibly include all offerings from Activision Blizzard into Game Pass, which would make it even more irresistible.
Ongoing scrutiny of the deal is happening, and several publishers have weighed in on the discussion over the past few weeks. Sony has shown that it is a bit worried about the possible results of the acquisition, arguing that the Call of Duty franchise could influence users’ console choices.
Microsoft has since offered a response in the form of a 27-page document that’s addressed to the Brazil Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), claiming that Sony has been paying off developers “blocking rights” to keep certain titles away from Game Pass.
“the use of exclusive arrangements has been at the heart of Sony’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the gaming industry,” cites the document. “Sony’s concern with possible exclusivity of Activision‘s content is incoherent, to say the least,”
Additionally, the document shares that there is a fear of an “innovative business model that offers high-quality content at low costs” by Sony, thus inhibiting such by paying developers these aforementioned block fees.
“Indeed, Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been obstructed by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth. Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services” as per VGC’s transcript.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all affects the acquisition proceedings if it even does, and how both parties will react and push their strategies after all is said and done.