Microsoft claims Sony pays developers to keep them off Xbox Game Pass

“Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth"

Microsoft has alleged that Sony has a practice of paying developers “blocking rights” to stop games from being launched on Xbox Game Pass.

The statement has been filed in response to Sony’s recent comments on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Speaking to a Brazilian regulatory body, Sony claimed  Microsoft acquiring Call Of Duty would make it challenging to rival; which would in turn have an effect on what console gamers chose to play their titles on.

Now (via The Verge), Microsoft has argued that Sony is still large enough to rival the company, and claims ongoing business practices show Sony is actively doing so.


“Microsoft’s ability to continue expanding Game Pass has been hampered by Sony’s desire to inhibit such growth,” claimed the company, explaining that “Sony pays for ‘blocking rights’ to prevent developers from adding content to Game Pass and other competing subscription services.”

Xbox Game Pass
Xbox Game Pass. Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft went on to say that Sony’s concerns over the acquisition are “incoherent,” and says it reveals “a fear about an innovative business model that offers high-quality content at low costs to gamers.”

How Microsoft’s ongoing acquisition of Activision Blizzard will affect the games industry has been under scrutiny since it was announced. The acquisition is currently being investigated by the UK’s antitrust enforcer, and after concerns were raised over the company potentially making Call Of Duty Xbox-exclusive, it was confirmed that the shooter would remain available on PlayStation.

In regards to Activision Blizzard’s current allegations of workplace misconduct and anti-union practices, Microsoft has made a “ground breaking” binding commitment to remaining neutral on unionisation in the workplace. This comes as a second group of unionisers within Activision Blizzard have accused the company of making a “futile” effort to combat unionisation.