US Senator wants Sony to reveal PlayStation exclusivity deals

Sony's anti-competitive practices have been strongly criticized by a number of members of the US Congress.

Sony has been a constant source of problems for Microsoft over the past year, but now it seems the tables have turned.

On April 13th, Kevin Cramer, a Republican Senator from North Dakota, wrote a letter to Sony's CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, in which he expressed "concern about Sony's efforts to protect its gaming console business from competition." As per Axios' report, Cramer goes on to assert:

I am concerned Sony’s dominance of that market, and its efforts to perpetuate its current position imperils an important economic development opportunity for North Dakota.

Given the growing significance of the gaming industry to North Dakota, I am troubled by reports Sony appears to leverage its dominance to exclude competition rather than enabling choice for players and developers.

Increasingly, it appears Sony’s dominance is attributable to exclusionary practices, including paying game publishers not to distribute thieir games on rival platforms.

As per the US Senator, the gaming industry has a significant impact of $20.6 million on the economy of North Dakota as it supports 221 jobs, with the possibility of creating up to 6,320 jobs in the coming decade.

Cramer further highlighted that Sony's criticism of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision was nothing short of an example of "anticompetitive conduct." He noted that Sony started to vehemently oppose the deal shortly after they had finalized their acquisition of Bungie in July 2022.

Last year, Activision Blizzard was acquired by Microsoft for $70 billion.

In conclusion, the Senator requested that Sony furnish "unredacted copies" of:

  • All agreements that grant the company exclusive distribution rights for games published by third-party developers.
  • Agreements that prevent them from launching games on competing subscription services, such as Xbox Game Pass.
  • Internal company strategy records pertaining to the acquisition of Bungie.
  • All correspondence exchanged with the US government or regulatory authorities in regard to gaming competition.

Sony has faced allegations of anti-competitive practices from members of the US Congress before. Last month, 11 Congress members signed letters accusing the company of engaging in unfair competitive practices through its exclusivity agreements with third-party developers. Furthermore, the letters asserted that Japan's inaction against Sony was creating a disadvantage for a US-based company (Microsoft).

Microsoft acknowledged that its government affairs team had previously engaged in discussions with Congress members regarding concerns over Sony's behavior in the gaming industry.

Among the games from third-party developers that Sony has obtained as PlayStation exclusives over the years include:

Final Fantasy XVI is scheduled for release on June 22, 2023.

We will keep you updated on the latest developments regarding this story.

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Caleb Sama

Caleb Sama // Articles: 476

Caleb is just your average Joe Schmo with a love for films and a knack for writing. He can tell you all about the latest blockbusters and indie flicks, but he'll also sneak in some obscure references and dad jokes that will make you groan and roll your eyes. His reviews are like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're gonna get, but you'll probably want more. Link up with Caleb on LinkedIn or check him out on Steam.
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