Microsoft pleaded for its deal on the day of the Phase 2 decision last month, but now the gloves are well and truly off. Xbox Game Pass is also at the heart of the ongoing battles between Microsoft and Sony over Call of Duty. Sony is arguing that Microsoft could take Call of Duty away from PlayStation entirely, while Microsoft says that wouldn’t make business sense. This disagreement has spilled out into a public war of words between Sony’s PlayStation chief and Microsoft’s head of Xbox, yvboost but the real conflict is happening behind closed doors. Microsoft might well be in last place in console sales during the previous generation, but it’s certainly investing billions of dollars to ensure any future Xbox sales aren’t less than half of the PlayStation and that its Xbox Game Pass bet pays off. Building a successful rival to the Google Play Store or App Store would be a huge challenge, though, and Microsoft will need to woo third-party developers if it hopes to make inroads.
Microsoft previously claimed that Sony is paying for “blocking rights” to keep some games off Xbox Game Pass and now says that’s the case with Call of Duty. “The agreement between Activision Blizzard and Sony includes restrictions on the ability of Activision Blizzard to place Call of Duty titles on Game Pass for a number of years,” says Microsoft in its filings. Microsoft is quietly building a mobile Xbox store that will rely on Activision and King games. “After almost 20 years ofCall of Dutyon PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers,” said PlayStation head Jim Ryan in response.
In a graph posted at Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition site, the company depicts the entire gaming market as worth $165 billion in 2020, with consoles making up $33 billion , PCs at $40 billion , and mobile gaming at $85 billion . Microsoft is building an Xbox mobile store to directly offer games on mobile devices, challenging Apple and Google. The software giant first hinted at a “next-generation” store it would “build for games” earlier this year but has now quietly revealed details of the https://cryptolisting.org/ plans in filings with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority . If the UK battles are anything to go by, this acquisition could get messy as Microsoft and Sony battle it out behind the scenes to sway regulators. Microsoft even has a dedicated website to highlight its arguments as it seeks to convince regulators that its giant deal isn’t a bad one for gamers. We’re still months away from final regulator decisions, but get ready for this battle to continue to spill out onto the internet’s streets.
Microsoft also accuses Sony of not welcoming competition from Xbox Game Pass and that Sony has decided to block Game Pass on PlayStation. “This increased competition has not been welcomed by the market leader Sony, which has elected to protect its revenues from sales of newly released games, rather than offer gamers the choice of accessing them via its subscription, PlayStation Plus.” This comes just months after Microsoft claimed, in legal filings, that Sony pays for “blocking rights” to keep games off Xbox Game Pass. The CMA and other regulators now have the unenviable task of untangling these arguments between Sony and Microsoft and figuring out exactly how this deal could harm consumers or competition. Microsoft still hopes to close this deal out by spring 2023, but there’s a good chance we have months of battles ahead — as well as the opportunity to gain rare insights, as with these mobile plans, into the secret ambitions of the gaming industry. However, a big potential stumbling block for Microsoft’s mobile gaming ambitions could be its control of Call of Duty on both mobile and console. Microsoft has seen success with Xbox Game Pass, and it has made it clear it wants to bring Activision games to the service.
Microsoft says these same principles will also apply to the future Xbox mobile store, which could be enough to lure developers onto the platform. One company that might be particularly interested is Epic Games, which has allied itself with Microsoft in the past few years in the fight against Apple’s App Store policies. Microsoft’s acknowledgment of a mobile gaming push comes as the company increasingly positions Xbox Cloud Gaming as an option for mobile gaming on emerging handhelds. Microsoft was quick to support Xbox Cloud Gaming on Valve’s Steam Deck, followed by a partnership with Logitech and Razer for their cloud gaming-focused handhelds. That means a push into mobile gaming could happen on multiple fronts — not just on phones and tablets.
Epic eventually called on Microsoft to help argue its case in court, and Microsoft cranked up the pressure on Apple with some significant Windows store changes days ahead of the Epic v. Apple trial last year.
The UK regulator signaled an in-depth review of Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard last month, and the CMA has now published its full 76-page report on its findings. The CMA says it has concerns that Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal could lessen competition in game consoles, subscriptions, and cloud gaming, but Microsoft thinks the regulator has simply been listening to Sony’s lawyers too much. However, the CMA has barely discussed the potential for Microsoft’s entrance into mobile gaming as part of its investigation and is instead largely focusing on console gaming, which Microsoft argues is an increasingly smaller part of the overall market.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney welcomed Microsoft’s first hints at an open app store model in 2019 ahead of a giant battle between Epic and Apple a year later that saw Fortnite disappear from iPhones. Epic has been arguing that Apple should allow third-party payment systems in its App Store or even allow rival app stores to function on iPhones and iPads. But even if Call of Duty stays on PlayStation, Sony could still lose out on serious revenue if Microsoft offers the title on Xbox Game Pass.