PlayStation parent company Sony is embroiled in a huge battle to stop Microsoft from acquiring Activision-Blizzard. Unfortunately, for Sony, that fight already appears to be turning the other way.
In the midst of the ongoing battle against Microsoft, US senators have become aware of Sony’s dominance in the video game console space. Furthermore, Sony’s longstanding deals with prolific Japanese developers for exclusivity has led some to claim PlayStation, not Xbox, is the monopoly here.
During the hearing on Thursday, Senator Maria Cantwell criticised Sony’s mass ownership of the gaming market. As reported by PoliticoPro, Cantwell called Sony Interactive Entertainment a dangerous monopoly.
“I'm told that Sony controls a monopoly of 98% of the high-end game market,” Cantwell said. “Yes Japan's government has allowed Sony to engage in blatant anti-competitive conduct through exclusive deals and payments to game publishers.”
Shots taken at Sony come after the reveal of its exclusivity deals for Final Fantasy games on PlayStation consoles. Starting with Final Fantasy 7 Remake, PlayStation and Square Enix’s exclusivity deals have specifically targeted the Xbox audience.
With Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Sony and Square Enix agreed to bring the game to PlayStation consoles for a one-year deal. However, even after that year expired, the game could release anywhere except Xbox machines.
This deal appears to be the same for the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI. While the game may come to PC after just six months, it may never arrive on Xbox Series consoles.
However, as usual nowadays, Cantwell’s statements do come with a splash of conflict of interest. Microsoft has previously invested heavily in Cantwell’s political campaign with the company being the politician’s top financial supporter with over half a million dollars.
Furthermore, Cantwell’s “98%” statement appears to have no basis in fact. Sony’s monopoly in Japan’s gaming market is nonexistent; Nintendo and mobile games reign supreme in the Eastern market.
While Sony’s exclusivity past is troublesome for its campaign against Microsoft’s acquisition, the PlayStation company is only a leader in Western markets.