Sony Accused of Anti-Competitive Conduct in Japan by US Congress Members

A number of US Congress members have accused Sony of blatant anti-competitive conduct in Japan by keeping games off Xbox.

us members of congress sony accused anti-competitive behavior in japan playstation-exclusivity deals democratic senator maria cantwell blatant anti-competitive conduct xbox japanese games
Sony Accused of Anti-Competitive Conduct in Japan by US Congress Members

Over a proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision/Blizzard, industry rivals Microsoft and Sony started a tug of war regarding a possible Call of Duty-exclusivity on Xbox console and regulators got involved to investigate anti-trust concerns.

After over a year of going back and forth, UK regulators finally claims that Activision merger will not lessen competition in gaming. More recently, several US Congress members accuse Sony of engaging in anti-competitive conduct in Japan.

According to a Politico report, Democratic senator Maria Cantwell has recently accused Sony of anti-competitive behavior with their exclusivity deals to keep Japanese games off Xbox and calls trade representative to raise issue during talks.

Her claims were also supported by letters from several Democrats and Republican members of Congress, calling US trade representative Katherine Tai commerce secretary Gina Raimondo for taking quick action to resolve such major issue.

Detailing how PlayStation conduct business in Japan, Congress members claim that Sony makes exclusivity deals with third-party publishers to ensure Xbox doesn't have a foothold in Japanese market, hurting Microsoft's ability to compete.

Cantwell also pointed out, how Sony has a monopoly over Japanese gaming market and Japan's government allows them to engage in such anti-competitive practices, harming U.S. companies' ability to compete in their region by long-shot.

While talking at 2023 Trade Policy Agenda, senator Maria Cantwell takes a jab at Sony for their practices.

I'm told that Sony controls a monopoly of 98% of the high-end game market, yet Japan's government has allowed Sony to engage in blatant anti-competitive conduct through exclusive deals and payments to game publishers.

By not acting on Sony's alleged anti-competitive behavior, Japan is putting a U.S. company Xbox at a disadvantage. Their effective policy of non-prosecution for Sony is a barrier to U.S. exports, with heavy impact for other U.S. game studios.

Microsoft's government affairs team has reportedly talked with members of Congress regarding this issue. Their spokesperson David Cuddy welcomes further investigation over Sony's behavior in Japan to create a level playing field for Xbox.

Sony secured several Japanese third-party titles as PlayStation-exclusives, thus excluding games like Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XVI from Xbox by making an exclusivity deal with Square Enix among various known dev studios.

Another major example of last generation console is Street Fighter V by Capcom, which remains an exclusive to PC via Steam and PlayStation 4 till this date since its 2016 launch, never to come to Xbox One or any latter console generations.
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