A new player has entered the neverending saga of Microsoft's proposed $69 billion dollar acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell (who represents the state of Washington) weighed in on the subject today in a rather confusing fashion.
Spotted over on ResetEra, the senator made some comments during a Senate finance committee hearing on "The President's 2023 Trade Policy Agenda", which we are sure was incredibly engaging.
Senator Cantwell stated that she was "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, establishing games that are among the most popular in Japan."
This 98% figure is quite misleading, ignoring PC, Nintendo and mobile games, and instead refers to Sony's adoption rate over Microsoft in Sony's home region of Japan, a revelation which shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone moderately aware of the video game industry.
After accusing Japan's Federal Trade Commission of having failed to investigate this alleged "exclusionary conduct" properly, she asked US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, "What do you think we can do to address these issues and create a level playing field?"
As Luke Plunkett over at Kotaku rightly points out, it's ludicrous to suggest Sony has some kind of monopoly on the Japanese game market because "Sony doesn’t even have a 98% share of the God of War market, a series they own, since Steam is getting 30% of every sale on PC."
Obviously, we can't expect elected officials to be experts on everything, but it sure is a conspicuous take during a fairly critical moment in the ongoing acquisition effort.
Is it relevant that Microsoft (not to mention Nintendo) is headquartered within Senator Cantwell's district of Redmond, WA, or that Microsoft has contributed more than half a million dollars to Cantwell over the past two decades? We'll let you decide.
What do you think of Senator Cantwell's comments? Let us know in the comments section below.
[source subscriber.politicopro.com, via resetera.com, kotaku.com]
Instead of crying over Call of duty why not focus on fully supporting the psvr 2 that several of us have forked over big money for ....cause I have a feeling already it's going to go the same way as the first
Old politics people should not talk about games
It's pretty disgusting how easy it is to buy a senator in the "Land of the Free" huh? And yeah, no country is free from lobbying, but America takes it to a different level.
Oh hey, I believe I’ve voted for her. I live in Washington state.
The U.S Senator most likely to refer to all video games system as the Nintendo.
@StylesT i do agree to a point as im one of those day 1 buyers but unfortunately call of duty probarbly makes more for Sony in a single launch day that the psvr2 has done since launch up until now. I just wish this whole buyout fiasco was put to bed already, one way or another. Its gone on too long as is getting rather tiresome.
Regardless of topic, it's infuriating how politicians can get away with this kind of behaviour when there's such a blatant conflict of interest. This is not even particular to this acquisition, just the state of politics in general. Also, what a lame a$$ argument...
@Kidfunkadelic83 I don't think them trying to fight the acquisition has any impact on the psvr2's support or success. They'll probably do the same they did for the Vita or PSVR1, invest in it for a while and if shows soft sales, move on to the next thing.
her argument is wrong Kotakus counter point to the argument is wrong
they are all just wrong
I would suspect on Japan its actually mobile or Nintendo that have the market dominance
Need to get money out of politics.
It was the regulators that ignored Nintendo's importance & came up with the term of high end consoles which Microsoft based there figures on.
I wished the Japanese gaming landscape was the deciding factor over dominance in the gaming landscape, but unfortunately it's the FIFAs, CoDs, Minecraft's and free to play game services.
However, the heart and soul of this industry and unadulterated gaming remains in Japan. So yeah, Sony and Nintendo both share this wealth.
I see Microsoft is paying off corrupt US politicians now god I hate my country sometimes 🤣 lol.
You realise that the PSVR2 has had the biggest line up of games of any platform ever at launch. And just this month we got both the saints and sinners and switchback? The only way you can possibly think there aren’t enough games is if you decide to not count anything third party for some obscure reason.
As to this story, she is clearly in the pocket of Microsoft. It’s not even worth debating that. To do so would be like trying to debate with a flatearther.
@thefourfoldroot1 Have you seen the quality of said line up? We have payed over £500 for the psvr 2...we want proper support aka more first party games built for vr ...not just upgrades of existing games or tacked on vr modes....
Yes, I have, it’s phenomenal. Resi village in VR is one of the greatest game I’ve ever played. GT7 is objectively brilliant. Having great fun with saints and sinners at the moment. Demeo is taking over my life currently though. CotM was the best climbing game ever. Cave Digger 2 also so addictive. Want to get light brigade and moss 2 (but have no time to play them with all the games I haven’t even scratched the surface of), not to mention a slew of others.
You do realise don’t you that having first party games in VR will take time? These take years to be developed. And it will obviously be “upgrades of existing games” in the meantime, and “VR modes” by definition.
I hope Sony makes many of its first party line up hybrid, so playable both flat and VR, and I’m sure we’ll get many, but for me PSVR2 has given me enough enjoyment that it’s been worth the money already. If I ask myself was the hardware worth the price of 8 full price games, the answer for me, and anyone else tired of the same old AAA formulas, is a clear yes.
This really is disgusting isn’t it. I guess she’s going for the whole nationalistic thing while pocketing millions from Microsoft.
I always thought XBOX's biggest problem in Japan was XBOX. They can't crack the market. Simple as that.
PlayStation for their part do everything they can just to keep in sight of Nintendo.
MS must have passed her a brown envelope. Contents unknown!
Just more misleading BS from another government official. Why does anybody even trust these people.
@StylesT not just the PSVR2, but the PS5 as well. How many PS5 exclusives are there? Not including PS4 upgrades...
I honestly think we should forget cod anyway because (personally) Blops1 and 2 were the best ones. SONY should reboot SOCOM.
Of course the irony is that Sony have done everything they can to alienate, insult, and remove themselves from the Japanese development market, including shutting down many of their studios.
Let MS have Activision, they’ve done nothing overly noteworthy with all the other studios they’ve bought. Sony already have the player base so they should just use one of the many already established studios they own and make a better online first person shooter. They could reboot Black or Killzone with a bigger emphasis on the online
They could undoubtedly make a better shooter, they will not make a better selling and more profitable one, which is kind of the point.
Wasn't it Sony that came up with the "High end console" definition to narrow down the focus for it's opposition MS / AB buyout, They needed to discount the fact Nintendo has been successful without COD. It does have a sense of justice that the very same, and still ridiculous, definition is now being used against them.
@thefourfoldroot1 True, not straight away at least, but it might do well enough to keep the players who (used to) play COD, playing and spending money on micro transactions. The only worry would obviously be people who migrate to Xbox or pc BECAUSE they want to play COD.
Migrating will be a thing. If not mid gen then next gen, if MS win/buy the decision. Sony will lose billions, which I would be happy about if it wouldn’t completely debalance competition in the industry. Sony can’t afford to lose that amount and still maintain quality output and innovations like VR.
@StylesT Maybe do some research before buying something talking about being entitled.
@StylesT "...not just upgrades of existing games or tacked on vr modes...."
What is wrong with "tacked on" vr modes? GT7 and village are in my opinion very worthy psvr2 games. I rather have games in VR with AAA budgets (i.e. games which can also be played in flat) than games with 1/10th of the budget or less (i.e. a budget according to the player base).
This woman was paid over half a million by Microsoft. She will say whatever she has to to continue getting paychecks. Anyone who thinks this deal is getting blocked is crazy. You can't win against that kind of money, at least in the US. I'm not sure what other regulatory bodies this has to go through but in the USA Sony has absolutely no chance of getting a fair shot.
Sony did say that Microsoft Will have a monopoly on shooters If they buy Activision (for from the truth)
Yes. How could Microsoft ever compete with a behemoth like Sony!? 🤦♂️
Where do we find these people we elect here in the states? It's just sad.
Donations to the Democrat senator for the state the corp is headquartered in? Probably not relevant. But put that tinfoil on and go off.
Curious that there's no mention of her second largest donor being Valve.
I'm all for equality. If Microsoft can pay me over half a million dollars I might argue in favour of their ABK acquisition too.
@themightyant At least we know your price now, cheapskate. 😜
Nothing new here, since when would any politician not be corrupt? Just look at how the world looks…
@FenIsMightier the regulators aren't interested in Nintendo. If they did care there Call of Duty importance falls apart as Switch has flourished without COD. They even dismissed the 10 year deal saying Switch can't run COD.
It's not that Sony, Nintendo or whatever publisher has any kind of monopoly in Japan. It's rather that Microsoft has the monopoly on not selling anything over there.
Stupid things being said by everyone it seems. What is Kotaku talking about.
"Sony doesn’t even have a 98% share of the God of War market, a series they own, since Steam is getting 30% of every sale on PC."
This makes absolutely zero sence to me. One is about market share and the other is about profit/equity split. Two totally different things. Do they even realise the stupid definition of the market was manufactured by the FTC
A political hand-puppet in a bananenrepublik sponsored by M$, who would have thought...
Most government officials in the US are not:
Organizational Development Specialists
They are mostly lawyers and people who have gained favor from voters in one way or another. They operate in ways that help them stay elected.
The questions you have to ask yourself is, who is whispering into this persons ear? Who contributed to this person’s campaign? What do they have to gain from taking this stance?
Follow the money. Republican, democrat, it doesn’t matter in the end. It’s all sound bites and rhetoric now. “98%” is a soundbite and a truth stretch to make a point about something she likely knows nothing about.
@Flaming_Kaiser Entitled ..for hoping that playstation decide to properly support the vr this time ...lmao some people
@StylesT entitled because you dismiss what it currently offers, which is huge for any launch. In the future, you may have a point. Currently, your expectations are quite unrealistic. That's all people here are saying.
I'm surprised she didn't make her speech wearing an Xbox hoodie.
These people have no shame.
@StylesT who’s this we you speak of?
ignoring the donation part.
ps5 approx 3mil in Japan.
Series console 400k in Japan
thats not 98% (plus we keep getting told ps5s arre going to China)
So she's in Microsofts pocket basically.
All these politicians and that Lulu need to stay out of topics they know nothing about or maybe do some research first before spouting nonsense.
The irony that (as far as I'm aware,not US person here),it was after the administration change to the current President/government that the new FTC admin actually took an interest in investigating after years of monopolies like Disney,Google Amazon, Microsoft etc.,being able to get bigger & use their monopoly unchecked!
But like most other things there,powerful "lobbying"/donations to the political overlords & ignorance of the games industry sadly means Microsoft has a long reach financially. There's already been the scare campaign of "Activision could be bought by Tencent!",when the reality is Activision shareholders really need to cut the deadweight Bobby Kotick management team rather than give them Microsoft funded golden parachutes to cash out.
Its no different than little indie Microsoft claiming Sony can make their own COD whilst spending 70 billion to buy up COD & undoubtedly repeat what they did with Zenimax & cancel any in development Playstation games & make COD exclusive as soon as they're able to. 😕
The implication in the article and the follow up in the comments all suggest that this Senator is corrupt. PushSquare, if you believe that just say it.
I don’t know her. I’d have to look at her voting record and all the conversations surrounding this topic rather than a single soundbite to have a real opinion on whether she has “been bought.”
That said, I wish Sony could just stop caring about losing Call of Duty.
We need term limits and better mental healthcare. Both would help with this situation.
@CaptD she and all other politicians should absolutely be forced to dress like football players. It'd be funny to see Ted Cruz talk about guns with an NRA logo on his suit.
@koffing that makes no sense. Why would a company like Sony stop caring about losing billions of dollars?
I have a feeling MS has been sending ***** stock lately in Japan just so they can say stuff like this. I wouldn't put it past this company to do this.
@koffing They stand to lose billions and billions.... money that funds AAA games. Why would they not fight this tooth and nail? That's been the most bizarre thing to occur out of this ordeal. Somehow Microsoft is seen as the good guy in this and Sony is bad for protecting its interests.
I think it's mobile that's reigns supreme in japanese, followed by nintendo in distant second.
Bottom line is the Japanese public don't like Microsoft. It's always been this way thankfully. Nintendo & Sony dominate that market.
@northofthewall Always knew Raphael Warnock was based. Sony Ponies unite!
@naruball I think I made perfect sense. I personally don’t care if CoD is on Playstation and I wish Sony agreed with me. I didn’t say that was fiscally the best choice for them.
@koffing You don’t care but millions of CoD players do and those players give more money to Sony than several Sony AAA games combined.
@Postie85 - Sony could reboot Black how? It was made by Criterion who are owned by EA.
@KaijuKaiser I don’t like Call of Duty. Shrug.
@koffing it's ridiculous to assume Sony would not oppose this deal. Even if Sony could make a competent shooter, it'll take at least a decade of good marketing, as well as releasing it multiplatform to maybe even sniff COD. In performance or sales. If Microsoft were in their shoes, they'd have done the same.
@StylesT Sony has allocated a separate budget for PSVR, to that of PlayStation consoles (i.e. fighting the merger). All the deals you see for the console, are in no way related to any budgets and negotiations Sony has done to bring games to the psvr2. This is a complete non issue.
@cragis0001 Nintendo has big licenses like Mario, Zelda, and Pokémon (the biggest franchise on the planet). If those were ported to other consoles there would be no reason to buy Nintendo so I guess it’s like that with big titles like COD for Sony. And I have heard mention of COD coming to Nintendo’s next console (remember they were quick to sign an agreement with Microsoft about the deal).
And for everyone that says it’s as simple as making a better first person shooter than COD that’s easier said than done. Whether COD is your type of game or not, nothing comes close to the gameplay and responsiveness of COD, not Battlefield, not Destiny.. maybe Doom comes close but that works best as a single player experience. COD isn’t my favorite shooter when it comes to immersion, story or world building, but the gameplay is like butter and I think that’s where they come out on top.
"She was told"!? By who? Did she do any investigation to find out if what she had been told was even true before she went out and commented on it? Even if it is accurate Sony haven't gone out and bought two of the largest Japanese publishers to get to that point (so far anyway 🤣).
It’s cool.. let them have Activision.. cuz once they get that deal, Sony has promised to buy up R*.. that’d be a biiiig blow to SuXBox.. they took my StarField and Fallout from me so let’s do this.. GTA 6 console exclusive FTW!!! F*** Microsoft!!
Edit: I’m the 69th comment.. cool
@WolfyTn They have nowhere near that money. They have five billion dollars and that’s not just for PlayStation. It’s for all their ventures.
Maybe back in the glory days this was true. These days though, Playstation feels as Japanese as an apple pie hamburger. Which isn't the point, I know, it just sucks ass!
@KaijuKaiser GTA 6 is going to break records out the wazoo.. I’m sure they can strike a deal for exclusivity.. I’m still so mad about Bethesda being bought
This is the exact same argument the FTC used to dismiss Nintendo from the conversation. So...seems pretty bias to me to agree with that assessment while discounting the exact same thought in a different region.
And, frankly, it's odd to so heavily allege corruption in this case. Like, very odd. Like...'going out of your way to push a pro-Playstation narrative, even when it's unfounded and based on hearsay' odd...
The Japanese only prefer Nintendo. Sony will never be as popular as Nintendo in Japan
@KaijuKaiser . 5 billion dollars for acquisitions set aside in cash. They have 13 billion dollars in cash, they can probably raise more if needed.
Plus buying them outright isn't the only option, there are other possibilities such as a merger. An also Sony can do part cash part share deal.
It does sound like she’s been spoon-fed these talking points by her special interest financial supporters like Microsoft. I’m not sure why a Senator from Washington would otherwise care about what Japan is doing (or not doing). It’s kind of embarrassing for me as an American, actually. So patronizing to the regulatory authorities in Japan. I know it’s complicated because she’s implying that an American company (MS) is being adversely affected by Japan’s lack of intervention, but I’m pretty sure if a public official from Japan started to question our economic decisions then it would be similarly ill-considered.
@Bomberman94 obviously Nintendo is king in Japan, but Sony have a big presence sales are very strong on PS5 at the moment. Microsoft sales are pathetic to be honest.
Typical of a hypocritical scumbag politician and especially from her side of the aisle. I expect as much. NEXT.
@StylesT I always ignore people that use the word "entitled" in an argument. They use the word in place of an actual relevant argument which they don't have or can't express. Kind of like all the people calling things "woke."
@koffing I won't go so far as call her corrupt, but I will suggest that she knows which side her bread is buttered on and she is doing her job representing the interests of the people (and companies which are also considerd people in the U.S.) in her district. She would only be corrupt if she had taken the time to read and understand the issue - COD is the best selling game with a large enough market share to potentially turn the market into a monopolys if Xbox had exclusive control of it - and decided to put her thumb on the scale in favor of the corporation that gives her campaign money. Taking a few moments to find out the relative size of both companies and then reaching the conclusion that Microsoft has effective monopolies in the tech industry outside of gaming and therefore probably shouldn't be allowed to consolidate even more tech in their portfolio is a big ask for someone that has to spend most of her free time begging for money to keep herself in office. I will say though, if she believes the argument she is making is sound, she shouldn't be smart enough to be in congress. Unfortunately, congress is filled with a bunch of ignorant clowns so intelligence is obviously not a job requirement.
Cantwell can't do many things very well... but what she can do is lie. We all know the truth here. No need to go much further.
I'm so sick of how corrupt American politicians (specifically America as I'm American, I'm aware other countries are just as bad if not worse, but this impacts me directly) are. So many are bought out by big tech, big pharma or other multi-national groups that have zero interest in the well being of anyone but themselves.
Lobbyism should be banned and classified as corruption.
Just shut up and bang your gavel! Just stay out of the video game market. These know it all politicians are so full of crap. Why don’t you focus on something important! Washington needs a total overhaul anyway! We the people need to vote them out of office!
I guess none of Nintendo’s games are high end, lol. I guess it’s true, given that the chip is almost ten years old….it’s time for a Switch 2.0…
Oh, come on, folks. The hyperbole — and it is just that: political noisemaking — is being done on behalf of her donors and constituency (she will keep MS's positions to help keep MS offices and jobs in WA) and is a good thing.
As a video game enthusiast, I want to see BOTH companies thrive and be really successful because that competition will drive change in the industry and evolution within game styles, platforms, and immersion techniques. MS should keep moving forward with their industry-defining streaming, and this acquisition, and Sony should keep making terrific console exclusives, PSVR2, etc.
The stronger and more competitive the relationship between MS and Sony, the better for us. Now if you're talking Meta, you can f**ck right off. The company is a joke, and Zuck is a flesheating lizard in an il-fitting skin suit. Nothing you say about it will make me believe otherwise.
Unfortunately, as I live her in state, I can say that in my opinion, she is garbage as are most politicians. She is most definitely in Microsoft's pocket but this little bit only adds to other situations she has attempted to help them with.
Welcome to politics in the USA. No matter which side it is, both ONLY listen to their big money donors, not the people they represent.
I thought America was all about exceptionalism and giving credit to who did the best job. Maybe Microsoft could try making better games.
@StylesT You check what you buy atleast i hope you do so nobody owns you anything.
If you think you should get more you could have waited untill there are more games available .
Or dont buy it if you dont think there are enough games nobody forced you to buy it.
Buying on release does not mean anything thats the same with every new piece of tech.
@Flaming_Kaiser You got a screw lose...or just struggling to remove yourself from PlayStation's arse....yes people are entitled for hoping for a product they have bought gets supported better given they didn't exactly support the first vr that great.....
Like all politicians in the US, bought and paid for by corporations.
Maria, you can't....well....
Oh what's the matter Jim Ryan don't like it when the shoe's on the other foot. 🤣🤣
Speaking as a proud patriotic American…
If it’s a US politician, they are corrupt careerists.
Every single one of them.
I know brother. It’s absolutely disgusting watching how corrupt our “political betters” are every single day.
My own state has probably the most hopelessly corrupt government in the entire union. If it was my choice I would gather them all up and ship them to some no name Island in the Pacific.
At one time we were… we were the envy of the entire world.
Today… it’s honestly embarrassing how low we have sunk in so many ways.
I still love the US with every fiber of my being. But we have fallen far from the greatness we once had.
The people crying about this ignore the key fact that what she says is true. Like her or not, its true.
@Sakisa so it's your fault.
All joking aside. This is why politicians should stay out if subjects they don't fully understand.
@LifeGirl absolutely true the problem is rampant here. The EU has passed some great legislation that would never pass in the USA due to many officials being in the pocket of big corporations.
@LifeGirl spot on! It’s criminal what has happened to my country. The government here is corrupt to the core, and lobbyists are a big reason why. Big corporations are buying influence to increase their profits at the expense of the people.
@StylesT Nobody made you purchase it.
@youdoneyo69 What is your major malfunction? All I have said is I hope they support a piece of hardware they released....but hey you do you ..you nut job lmao
@StylesT You're complaining about the price and they didn't support the first one. So if they didn't support the first one to your liking then why would you purchase the second? Sounds like you have a major malfunction.
@youdoneyo69 So me pointing out that lots of people have payed alot of money for it so I hope they support it better is me now complaining about the price..lovely reading comprehension you have
It's amazing how people here are stating that politicians shouldn't have any involvement in things like this but were saying what a great job the CMA had been doing by obstructing the move. How times change.
My personal opinion is that 99.9% of politicians or government run departments have no clue about the games industry at all. None of them are competent enough to deliberate over things of this magnitude. In fact, the industry is big enough and mature enough to warrant its own, fully independent watchdog to oversee and judicate on its own business.
She really should have done her own research first before saying anything.
Seriously concerned about Microsoft buying up all these developers. But hey, I'll be playing SPIDER-MAN 2, TEARS OF THE KINGDOM, DIABLO IV, and FF VI this year. So I'm good.
Yep, they're totally bribing her to say that. And she's a politician. BSing about stuff she has no clue about and everything else is her game.
i think i speak for all of us when I say
We may be witnessing the end of Sony
@Breekhead I agree with you 100% but Microsoft aren't gonna argue about Nintendo's influence if the regulators are just gonna dismiss it like they did before. So they used the regulators definition of high end consoles being a two horse race to paint a similar theme that they are the underdog hence the figures ignoring Nintendo, PC etc. As this way the regulators can't dismiss it.
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