The politician alleges that Sony has a 98% monopoly on the high-end game market in the country.
Another participant has entered the ongoing discussions regarding Microsoft's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, who represents the state of Washington, has expressed her concerns about Sony's possible monopoly in the "high-end game market".
As reported by Kotaku, while speaking at a Senate finance committee hearing focused on "The President's 2023 Trade Policy Agenda," Cantwell pointed out that Sony has a 98% monopoly on the high-end game market in Japan and criticized the country's government for enabling Sony to engage in anti-competitive practices "through exclusive deals and payments to game publishers, establishing games that are among the most popular in Japan.”
It's worth noting that the 98% statistic is pretty misleading as it only pertains to Sony's success over Microsoft in Japan, and does not take into account other platforms such as PC, Nintendo, and mobile games.
Still, Cantwell alleged that Japan's Federal Trade Commission did not thoroughly investigate the alleged "exclusionary conduct" and subsequently asked Katherine Tai, the US Trade Representative, for her opinion on how to address these concerns and ensure a fair and equitable marketplace.
As pointed out by Kotaku's Luke Plunkett, the idea of Sony having a monopoly on the Japanese game market is absurd, as it does not even have a 98% share in the God of War market, which is a franchise it owns, due to Steam receiving a 30% cut from every sale made on PC.
While we cannot expect elected officials to have expertise in every area, it is certainly noteworthy that such a claim was made at a crucial moment in the ongoing acquisition process.
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