The US Congress is concerned about Sony’s trade practices with consoles in Japan
Normally, when we talk about Microsoft and Sony in the same sentence, it is usually related to the possible acquisition of Activision Blizzard for the not inconsiderable sum of 68.7 billion dollars. This time it is not directly about that (although it is probably a new tactic to get the agreement approved in the United States), but about Sony’s business practices with its consoles in Japan, its country of origin, which Microsoft believes they could violate. trade agreements between the US and Japan.
The issue has been raised by a group of members of the US Congress who are pressing the Biden administration to take action in the “unbalanced Japanese video game market, which we are concerned may be the result of a discriminatory trade practice that could violate the spirit of the US-Japan Digital Trade Agreement,” reads the letter signed by concerned members of Congress (thanks, Axios).
The letter even notes that Sony has a 98% share of the high-end console market in Japan and that the company signs deals that seek to keep Japanese games off Microsoft devices, which, if true, is in violation of the law. antitrust and would pose “a serious barrier to US exports with real repercussions for Microsoft and the many US game developers and publishers who sell globally but see their revenues in Japan eroded by these practices.”
Microsoft’s use of the term “high-end console” is their way of removing Nintendo from this conversation, as when we look at console sales in Japan as a whole, it’s usually always been a two-horse race. between PlayStation and the latest Nintendo device. But coincidentally, as Microsoft and Nintendo seem to be the best of friends right now during the Activision Blizzard acquisition process, Microsoft isn’t involving another Japanese titan in these antitrust and breach of trade agreement lawsuits.
Following this letter, US Senate Representative Katherine Tai has promised to investigate the situation.