Image: Xbox

If there’s a game missing on Xbox Game Pass, its chief rival might be to blame.

Brazil’s national competition regulator has published new documents relating to its review of Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and one portion includes a surprising claim from the software giant that alleges Sony is paying “blocking rights” to keep certain games from reaching Game Pass, including other subscription services.

“Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth,” Microsoft said according to an August 9th filing to the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), translated from Portuguese. “Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”

It’s unclear what Microsoft is referring to here, exactly, but the reality of the situation is probably more complicated than what the Xbox maker seems to be immediately suggesting, as pointed out in coverage by The Verge, which spotted the new documents.

Sony could simply be paying for exclusive rights for its own streaming services, or it may have clauses in some publishing contracts that prevent some games it publishes from being published on rival subscription services.

[…] contracts for publishing games can be complex, particularly when rights for streaming and subscription services are involved. Documents filed in the Epic Games v. Apple trial last year revealed Microsoft had been considering lowering the revenue split for PC games “in exchange for the grant of streaming rights to Microsoft.”

If Microsoft had proceeded with its plans, that could have led to the company securing exclusive streaming rights on some games, preventing them from being available on rival streaming services.

This doesn’t appear to be Microsoft’s only seemingly wild claim, either. The company has also claimed that adding Activision Blizzard games to Xbox Game Pass actually increases competition, contradicting Sony’s worry of how certain franchises, such as Call of Duty, would prompt many gamers to pick Xbox over PlayStation.

“The inclusion of Activision Blizzard content in Game Pass does not impair the ability of other players to compete in the digital game distribution market,” Microsoft claimed in one document, arguing that it actually increases the competition thanks to “high-quality content at lower immediate costs.”

Source: Sistema Eletrônico de Informações (via The Verge)

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8 comments

  1. Raise your hand if this surprises you, or if you think Microsoft (or anyone else) isn't doing the exact same thing
    At my day job, we and other agencies throughout the state are transitioning over to Azure. One of our contractors contacted me yesterday because another State-run agency that is using it sent a link for a teams meeting and they were not able to use it because Safari blocked it. I was surprised and googled it and found out that Apple is blocking teams but MS provided a workaround, still I was thinking how pathetic that was.
  2. Yup, Teams and Exchange give me fits on my iPhone, and Exchange drives my OS X Mail client nuts.
    Bummer. I'm mostly looking forward to us switching over but didn't know that was a thing until now. I'll definitely be looking into seeing if I can install Teams as an app on our company iPhones but I can already tell that I'll be hearing more about it from the rest of our contractors. oh well, it's always something. Not sure if we'll be using Exchange or not. Probably just Outlook but I'll find out next month when I start digging into this next big project. Just finished getting our new iPhones set up with new MDM software a month ago, and now rolling out GoTo to them and then Azure is next(at which point I'll happily retire our nearly 20-year-old servers that I've kept running for the last 5-10). After that, some well-earned time off as those are the last of the big projects for bringing our agency into the semi-modern world (when I took over IT duties the only tech we really had were P4 computers, some printers and scanners, and flip phones-to give a clue). It's taken 5-10 years to get this far and I can't list all the projects that preceded these.
  3. Bummer. I'm mostly looking forward to us switching over but didn't know that was a thing until now. I'll definitely be looking into seeing if I can install Teams as an app on our company iPhones but I can already tell that I'll be hearing more about it from the rest of our contractors. oh well, it's always something. Not sure if we'll be using Exchange or not. Probably just Outlook but I'll find out next month when I start digging into this next big project. Just finished getting our new iPhones set up with new MDM software a month ago, and now rolling out GoTo to them and then Azure is next(at which point I'll happily retire our nearly 20-year-old servers that I've kept running for the last 5-10). After that, some well-earned time off as those are the last of the big projects for bringing our agency into the semi-modern world (when I took over IT duties the only tech we really had were P4 computers, some printers and scanners, and flip phones-to give a clue). It's taken 5-10 years to get this far and I can't list all the projects that preceded these.
    Well, they work. Just not exactly how you'd expect.

    Like, getting a calendar invite with a Teams meeting. Apple Calendar meshes well enough with Outlook/Exchange for CalDav, so invites go in well and work as you'd expect them on receipt. But if I try to send an invite out from my phone, it wants to go through Apple's server and comes up as some iCloud invitation thing --- probably a way to fix that in my account settings, but I haven't taken the time to figure it out as I don't send out a ton of invites.

    But take that Teams invite on the calendar. If you "click here to join" - nothing happens. You have to open the additional Notes, and click the URL link from there. Then - half the time it will take you to the meeting. The other half of the time, it will open Teams, and just sit there at the basic Teams start screen. No idea why it's that inconsistent. It does eventually work, you just have to fidget with it for some reason.

    And on Mail - I can be looking at an email in my Inbox. I go to search for that email - nothing older than 1 year will show up, nothing newer than 7 days. I have no idea why. It's very frustrating, as I use Mail as my filing cabinet and rely on Search to dig through it. That said, it doesn't always work any better if I try through Outlook either -- probably something with o365/exchange our IT dept has dorked up.
  4. Well, they work. Just not exactly how you'd expect.

    Like, getting a calendar invite with a Teams meeting. Apple Calendar meshes well enough with Outlook/Exchange for CalDav, so invites go in well and work as you'd expect them on receipt. But if I try to send an invite out from my phone, it wants to go through Apple's server and comes up as some iCloud invitation thing --- probably a way to fix that in my account settings, but I haven't taken the time to figure it out as I don't send out a ton of invites.

    But take that Teams invite on the calendar. If you "click here to join" - nothing happens. You have to open the additional Notes, and click the URL link from there. Then - half the time it will take you to the meeting. The other half of the time, it will open Teams, and just sit there at the basic Teams start screen. No idea why it's that inconsistent. It does eventually work, you just have to fidget with it for some reason.

    And on Mail - I can be looking at an email in my Inbox. I go to search for that email - nothing older than 1 year will show up, nothing newer than 7 days. I have no idea why. It's very frustrating, as I use Mail as my filing cabinet and rely on Search to dig through it. That said, it doesn't always work any better if I try through Outlook either -- probably something with o365/exchange our IT dept has dorked up.
    Good to know and thanks!

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