Microsoft has hit back at Sony’s objection to its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard by revealing that third-party games like Bloodborne, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Final Fantasy 16, and Silent Hill 2 Remake are party to “exclusion” agreements that will prevent those games from coming to Xbox consoles.
The news comes as part of Microsoft’s response to the FTC’s lawsuit against its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In the filing, Microsoft defends its position by turning the spotlight back onto Sony, detailing a handful of “prominent” games the company alleges have been barred from release on Xbox.
Whilst the filing acknowledges that “exclusivity strategies are not uncommon in the games industry”, Microsoft seems to take issue with Sony’s partnerships with third-party publishers, namely From Software, Square Enix, and Konami.
“In addition to having outright exclusive content, Sony has also entered into arrangements with third-party publishers which require the ‘exclusion’ of Xbox from the set of platforms these publishers can distribute their games on,” the paperwork states (thanks, @KoreaXboxNews).
“Some prominent examples of these agreements include Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix), Bloodborne (From Software), the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI (Square Enix) and the recently announced Silent Hill 2 remastered [sic] (Bloober team).”
Whilst there’s been quite a bit of back and fore between the two companies in recent months, this final sentence may come as a bit of a surprise, not least because – in Silent Hill 2 Remake’s case, for instance – whilst we knew there was a 12-month console exclusivity period for Sony, it was presumed the games would roll out on other consoles after the exclusivity period is up… something Xbox intimates is now no longer the case.
For now, there’s been no clarification from any of the warring factions on whether or not we’ll see Silent Hill 2 Remake or Final Fantasy 16 pop up on Xbox Series X, but, as always, we’ll keep you posted.
Gamers were recently given an opportunity to have their say on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard in a public consultation with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.
According to the CMA, it received approximately 2600 emails, around 500 of which “contained abusive content (with no other substantive content), or were blank, unintelligible, stated to be from non-UK consumers, or not in English”.
The CMA will now consider this feedback, as well as continue its own investigations, before releasing its final report by the statutory deadline of 1st March 2023.