Microsoft’s attempts to get its Activision Blizzard acquisition approved by global regulators has been wide-ranging in terms of the information we have learned about the gaming industry. In the latest news, Microsoft is making a U-turn on previous claims it made about game sales. Now the company says that its Xbox Game Pass subscription platform does directly reduce game sales.
Microsoft previously said that games it adds to Xbox Game Pass actually see a boost in standalone sales of the game. However, in a filing to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the company admits that is not the case.
The CMA has recently voiced concerns about the $69 billion Activision Blizzard merger with Microsoft. During the CMA investigation, Microsoft sent the regulator documentation about Xbox Game Pass.
According to the company, there is a “decline in base game sales twelve months following their addition on Game Pass.”
During a 2018 interview with Levelup.com on YouTube, Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer said, “When you put a game like Forza Horizon 4 on Game Pass, you instantly have more players of the game, which is actually leading to more sales of the game.”
Of course, five years have passed since that interview, so the situation may have changed.
Xbox Game Pass Argument
Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service whereby customers pay a monthly fee to access a catalog of hundreds of games. All Microsoft-exclusive games are available on the platform. If Microsoft buys Activision, the company’s huge Call of Duty franchise will be under Microsoft’s umbrella.
Sony and regulators are concerned Microsoft will lock the mega-franchise behind Game Pass. Microsoft insists it has no intention of doing that. The company agreed a 10-year licensing deal to keep the Call of Duty games on Nintendo and says a similar offer is open to Sony.
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