Sony previously blocked Game Pass on PlayStation. However, Microsoft also seems to oppose bringing PS Plus to Xbox.
On page 14, the Japanese company referred to Microsoft’s argument that adding Game Pass to PlayStation wouldn’t tip demand for multi-game subscription services towards Game Pass.
According to Sony, the wider availability of Microsoft’s service would actually hurt rivals and make it harder for them to compete in the market. “Microsoft’s stance that Game Pass availability on PlayStation would be a panacea for the harm from this Transaction rings particularly hollow given that Microsoft does not permit PlayStation Plus to be available on Xbox,” the text reads.
Microsoft previously tried to bring Game Pass to other platforms like PlayStation and Nintendo Switch, but was denied. It is now clear from the CMA filing that Sony wanted to do the same with PS Plus, but was also rejected by Xbox.
So both companies have a similar rationale here, as they both want to boost their services and expand their reach. At the same time, none of them wants to lose their audience by giving more space to rivals.
The CMA is now conducting the second, in-depth phase of its investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The regulator has serious concerns about the transaction, saying that it might hurt the market and make hit games like Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox and Game Pass.
The UK watchdog is expected to rule on the matter by March 1, 2023.
The $68.7 billion deal is also under scrutiny from other governments. The European Commission recently launched an in-depth probe, while the US Federal Trade Commission reportedly considers filing an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.