Senator Maria Cantwell
Image: Washington Wild

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, via,]