Despite claims early in the generation that the company would ignore the fight for exclusives, the last couple of years has proven that Microsoft was just biding its time. Purchasing some of gaming’s biggest publishers and developers has left players with the conclusion that splitting gaming up through exclusives might be inevitable. Not alone in this assumption, an investigation from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK appears to agree.
Why Does Exclusivity Matter?
Exclusivity is often thought of as a problem because of how it can stifle competition, leading to worse outcomes for consumers. Of course, some degree of exclusivity has always been a part of gaming, and it will always be the case for some big first and second-party developers. Microsoft is taking this idea a step further, however, in a way that could seriously hold PlayStation gamers back.
On the other end of the spectrum, consider the good that a diverse software entertainment market can imply with online casinos like those at www.betminded.com. Here, online casinos like Wildz, Royal Panda, and Bet99 share many of the same games from many of the same providers. This pushed the websites to up their game in terms of special features, bonuses, functionality, and website design, all of which benefit the consumer rather than harm them. The move from Microsoft, in the opposite direction, is feared to have the opposite effect.
Purchases and Worries
The first of the big acquisitions made by Microsoft in the new generation went through in March of 2021 where, as www.cnet.com notes, it bagged ZeniMax for $7.5 billion. This included properties like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, DOOM, and Dishonored.
This was followed in January of 2022 by the announcement of an acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft noted as costing $68.7 billion at www.news.microsoft.com. This would give Microsoft ownership of series like Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and perhaps most importantly, Call of Duty.
Combined, these acquisitions include many of the biggest series that made and make gaming history. With the power they wield, Microsoft could essentially shut off Sony from offering these games on their PlayStation systems, or at least charge them immense fees to do so. The CMA in the UK determined this as a real threat, with the discussion and its outcomes still ongoing.
As much as the PlayStation could suffer from these moves by Microsoft, it’s worth noting that PC gamers won’t likely be affected. Microsoft is increasingly leaning into simultaneous releases on their Windows platform alongside Xbox, as they did with Halo Infinite, so the issues of this move aren’t total.
Until the final report, currently due on 26th April, 2023, the gaming industry is left waiting to find the outcome of what could be one of the most significant moments in console gaming history. Though the PS5 is currently outperforming the Xbox Series in sales, having its game library crippled could reverse this lead. For gamers still sitting on the fence about which new console to buy, it might be worth waiting until May to make the best decision possible.