Exclusivity is not a new concept in the gaming industry. PlayStation and Xbox have previously relied on first and third-party exclusives to bring more users to their platforms. Starfield is the latest exclusive for Xbox.
While the game was initially expected to release on PlayStation, this changed with Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media. Bethesda Game Studios has previously sold millions of copies across both platforms, so this was a massive blow for PlayStation.
The game was recently brought up during the court hearing between Microsoft and FTC. Jim Ryan from PlayStation was asked about his thoughts on Starfield exclusivity, but he does not see this move as anti-competitive.
Why it matters: Starfield is the biggest game for Xbox in 2023. However, the game’s exclusivity has been used as evidence against Microsoft’s current acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
As reported by IGN, Jim Ryan said:
“I don’t like it, but I don’t view it as anti-competitive.”
Exclusivity has been the biggest controversy for the Activision Blizzard merger. The FTC argues Call of Duty exclusivity could deal a huge blow to PlayStation’s market share in the industry.
Compared to Starfield, Call of Duty is an annual franchise. It has millions of active users, and each new release is considered a massive success for the long-running first-person shooter franchise.
However, Microsoft has also promised to keep the series on PlayStation. Still, the SIE CEO is not fond of Microsoft owning Call of Duty. Previously, PlayStation had an exclusivity deal with the franchise.
PlayStation is also no stranger to third-party exclusivity. Final Fantasy 16 is one of the biggest exclusives for PS5 in 2023, with Sony signing a six-month timed exclusivity deal with Square Enix.
Therefore, it is not surprising that Jim Ryan does not see this practice as anti-competitive.
In terms of exclusives, Microsoft previously canceled Redfall’s PlayStation version. The hearings have revealed that Indiana Jones from MachineGames will also be exclusive to Xbox Series S|X consoles.
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