The ongoing dispute between Microsoft and Sony continues over the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently looking at both sides of the argument, with Sony previously suggesting that the merger could lead Microsoft to increase its subscription prices for Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft has now responded to these claims stating that it won’t increase Game Pass prices after the acquisition because it’s counter-productive.
In a newly published response to the CMA, Microsoft said that it has no plans to increase Game Pass prices, especially after a wealth of games from Activision Blizzard will be added to the Game Pass library. The company argued that it didn’t raise subscription prices when it acquired Bethesda and ZeniMax Media so it won’t happen after the Activision merger either.
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Part of its response to the CMA regarding Sony’s concern about increased Game Pass prices, Microsoft stated:
“Game Pass prices will not increase as a result of the Merger, and certainly will not increase to a point that offsets the substantial benefits of Activision titles coming to Game Pass on a day and date basis. This is especially so given Game Pass will continue to be constrained by B2P [buy to play].”
Microsoft used Bethesda as an example of how it didn’t raise the subscription service’s prices after it acquired parent company ZeniMax Media, which gave Xbox ownership to several IPs including The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Dishonored and many more. Microsoft continued:
“The integration of Activision and Microsoft will result in a classic elimination of double marginalization effect because Microsoft will be able to acquire these games at (opportunity) cost and will have incentives to distribute them more broadly and increase the output of Game Pass relative to its counterfactual level. In order to increase output Microsoft will need to offer Game Pass at a lower quality-adjusted price.”
On the hotly debated subject of Call of Duty, Microsoft claimed that users could simply purchase a Game Pass subscription for a month and play the latest Call of Duty titles on the service, then promptly cancel afterwards if they want to. “As CoD titles are only released once a year, any impact would be short-lived as gamers who exhaust their enthusiasm for the new version of CoD within a few months will churn because of the higher price,” said the company.
Due to the possibility of increased subscriber churn rates, Microsoft says that any attempt to raise the price of Game Pass would simply be counter-productive. Sony is still standing by its argument that if the merger goes through, it will lose its ability to compete with Microsoft on the market. The CMA will rule on the deal by 26 April.
Source: Video Games Chronicle