According to a recent report Microsoft claimed that Sony pays for “blocking rights” to prevent developers from adding their games to Xbox Game Pass.
As reported by The Verge, the fairly substantial allegation comes as part of some documents filed with Brazil’s national competition authority, as well as part of an investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to stunt such growth,” Microsoft itself claims in a filing with the Administrative Council for Economic Defense, or CADE (translations by The Verge). “Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”
It’s unclear what this actually means in practice, as noted by The Verge. The most shady of all possibilities is that Sony literally doesn’t allow developers it sponsors to put those developers’ games on Game Pass. But it could also simply be about Sony paying exclusive rights to its own services, like the recently revamped PlayStation Plus. And there might be some clauses in certain publishing deals that prevent the games from appearing on Game Pass or other similar services.
Microsoft’s making this claim while under investigation for its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is likely due to the potential for it to be anti-competitive, of which Sony is well aware.
The documents filed with CADE have been taken apart by users on ResetEra, noting that Sony had previously indicated that it would be difficult for the company to create a franchise that could compete with that of Activision call of Duty. It’s also claimed that the series is “a gaming category of its own”, which isn’t really the case, although it can’t be argued that Sony will miss out on a lot of revenue if Call of Duty is an Xbox exclusive.