Sony makes interesting comments about how games offered on subscription services could potentially harm consumers due to lower game quality.
CADE, Brazil's own version of the FTC that acts as a protection group for the country's economy, recently polled major games industry players about Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion buyout of Activision-Blizzard. The questionnaire aimed to collect data and insights on the $180 billion video games market.
Sony was among those questioned about Activision-Blizzard deal, and about the games market as a whole. One of Sony's more interesting responses discussed how important Call of Duty is for gaming, and comments on premium games vs subscription-based games. While not explicitly mentioned by Sony, the company's comments seem to compare the quality of buy-to-play first-party PlayStation games with Microsoft's direct-to-Game Pass titles that release day-and-date on the service.
"While Sony agrees that subscription services compete with games purchased for a one-time fee, the lower immediate costs of subscription services to consumers can make publishers who recoup significant investment in games by selling them for an upfront fee uncompetitive. This can harm consumers by reducing the quality of the game," Sony Interactive Entertainment's legal counsel Levy & Solomon said in the CADE response letter, which was machine translated for the purpose of this coverage.
This comment underlines the big differences between Sony's PlayStation Plus service and Microsoft's Game Pass offering.
Microsoft releases its first-party games on Game Pass day one, whereas Sony has repeatedly said this is not a sustainable model for the PlayStation-holder.
"In terms of our assessment in what gamers want, it's quite simple: Gamers want great games. That is the first and overwhelming perspective that they have.
"How they are delivered is a secondary concern. I would say whether it's in absolute terms, or in relative terms compared to our own history or compared to anything that competitors are managing, that we have never been in a stronger place with PlayStation Studios than we are now. We anticipate that position of strength and excellence will only continue and will only grow.
"We are in a virtuous cycle where success has allowed investment, which has generated more success, which is allowing us to invest more and will hopefully generate yet more success.
"That virtuous cycle, we feel that if we were to move to a different model, which involved putting our AAA games into a subscription service on day one, we feel that there is significant risk that the virtuous cycle that we've established so successfully would be compromised and potentially broken.
"We definitely feel that is not in the best interest of the PlayStation gamer. That is our view on that particular issue."
That being said, Sony is indeed following Microsoft's footsteps in a number of key ways. Sony's PlayStation Plus service has merged PS Now, which offers game streaming, into 3-tiered model. This is similar to how Microsoft bundles game streaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Sony is also following Microsoft's lead when it comes to cross-platform integration. PlayStation games are coming to PC, and Sony is likewise creating more live service games for consoles, PC, and mobiles that may integrate into its PS Plus service.