Microsoft says Sony is blocking games from accessing Game Pass

An Xbox sits in a display case.

Photo: Beata Zawrzel (Getty Images)

Last week, Microsoft told Brazilian regulators that Call of Duty was not an essential game series while Sony protested that it was. In the latest episode of Activision Blizzard’s acquisition drama set in Brazil, Microsoft accused the PlayStation maker of trying to “inhibit the growth” of Game Pass.

Microsoft has been trying to convince regulators around the world that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard isn’t unfair to its competitors in the gaming industry. Now, as spotted by The edgehe claims that Sony pays the developers not to put their games on the Xbox manufacturer’s subscription service.

“Microsoft’s ability to continue to expand Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth,” Microsoft said in an Aug. 9 filing. “Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”

Platform exclusivity agreements are common in the gaming industry, and it is ambiguous whether this refers to a clause that could prevent games from appearing on Xbox services during its exclusivity period, or under stricter conditions. A document regarding the PlayStation exclusive came out of Capcom leaks, and page three says exclusives couldn’t appear on PlayStation subscription service rivals. These included Google Stadia, Game Pass, and similar services. Kotaku has contacted Microsoft and Sony, but has not received a response at press time.

Sony was previously critical of Microsoft’s grip on the games market. Just last week, the console maker argued with CADE this Call of Duty was an “essential game” and that competitors could not compete with it. Microsoft disagreed, and in this latest filing painstakingly lays out examples of Sony’s predilection for exclusivity regarding their big-name releases.

Since someone job translations of the Board of Directors for Economic Defense (CADE) procedure On ResetEra, gamers speculated on whether or not the publishers’ complaints were valid. This is a sensitive subject as the acquisition of Activision Blizzard will undoubtedly affect the gaming ecosystem in a seismic way, but the hands of the two platform holders are not clean. After Microsoft acquired the Call of Duty publisher was announced, Sony had continued its own major acquisition from Bungie, which makes Destiny 2.


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