U.S. Senator Blasts Sony's Monopoly on high end gaming and anti competitive practices

During a Senate finance committee hearing on “The President’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda”, Cantwell said “I’m told that Sony controls a monopoly of 98% of the high-end game market, yet Japan’s government has allowed Sony to engage in blatant anti-competitive conduct through exclusive deals and payments to game publishers, establishing games that are among the most popular in Japan.”

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Sonyslave376d ago (Edited 76d ago )

Let go, i love the sony bais from kotaku lol the senator is right Japan government vote to block the Activison Blizzard deal and helping Sony which is fine by me.

The ftc can learn a thing or two from the Japanese you fight for your country and consumers not foreign company.

Lifexline76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

No government needs to be fair not tit for tat but hopefully the US starts looking at this actual anticompetitive dealings Sony has been known for even before the Xbox existed.

People think it was Microsoft who started it but people need to do their research and see it has been Sony who does all these shady dealings they set the standard now want to change it hypocrisy at its finest. But its fans will defend it no matter what. That’s what regulators need to be looking at no one should be able to pay to exclude a game from a competitor that does not belong to said company no matter who it is that practice needs to be banned or fined heavily.

Redemption-6476d ago

Microsoft literally started it when dealing with COD. All of these companies have a history of paying for both content and exclusive deals. Sony just happens to get more success than Microsoft, making Xbox fanboys pretend Microsoft never does it. For example, I do not recall a single Xbox calling out MS for paying EA to make FIFA legends exclusive to Xbox for about 2-3 years. Problem for MS was, game still sold significantly more on Playstation, same thing with Witcher 3, even with Xbox having marketing rights and even exclusive items added to their collections edition, the game sold significantly more on PC, with Playstation coming in second.

Microsoft also doesn't want to actually do any work. I follow a few Japanese content creators and they complain about almost never seeing any marketing for Xbox in Japan, compared to what the see from Nintendo and Sony. Even in the states, I see more Switch and Playstation marketing than Xbox. Sony is the type of company that will advertise a 3rd party game as if it's an exclusive. Nothing wrong with both companies paying exclusive deals, one is just much better and finds more success

PapaBop76d ago

If my memory serves, it was Microsoft who started it by buying exclusive rights to GTA 4's DLC. Regardless of who started it, I just wish that sort of thing would go away. I can understand the reasoning behind games like SF5 where Sony actively contributed to the development costs but paying to keep games off a competitor's console is something that I'd have hoped would have died years ago.

FlintGREY76d ago

@Redemption let's not forget the $100m deal with the Tomb Raider sequel..

Imalwaysright76d ago (Edited 76d ago )


Not true. MS took a page from Sony's playbook as Sony has been making deals with 3rd party publishers/developers since the PS1 days well before MS introduced the Xbox brand to the console market. Sony also bought Psygnosis, a publisher, in the 90s.

Imalwaysright76d ago


You shouldn't forget about the deal Sony made with Eidos for the TR IP in the PS1 days.

A deal that led to the cancellation of the already in development Sega Saturn version of TR2.

"In April 2020, co-creator of Tomb Raider Paul Douglas confirmed that a Saturn version of Tomb Raider II was in development until the Sony exclusivity deal forced to cancel it."

76d ago
TOTSUKO76d ago

The difference is Xbox shafted their fans with nothing built after their “shady dealings” with the 360 era. More like Xbox fans got the shady deal how is that Sonys fault lol

shinoff218376d ago (Edited 76d ago )

Lifexline were you alive during the 360 years. Also 3rd party stuff went on long before sony was even in gaming. GTFOH


Lets not forget alot of devs moved on from nintendo due to their stubbornness and not moving on with disc. Alot of devs hated the cartridge and lack of room. Far as the saturn it was doomed from the jump sega fumbled that. Bring up sega saturn tomb raider al you want but those deals happened before sony was in gaming. It wasnt a new thing once sony brought ps1

Rude-ro76d ago

Sony was innovative.
Developers made games for the more capable hardware design where sega was cheap and Nintendo is and will always be Nintendo.

Microsoft: contracted third party games off of Sonys hardware to make a push with the Xbox 360.. while also releasing known faulty hardware to beat Sony out for that gen and to use said contracts hidden under the “first console” out.
Cod, mass effect, gears of war were all contracts to keep content off the competitor OR have content advantages.

Sony worked with third party studios to help develop game engines and games themselves to push gaming forward with no exclusives attached.

Microsoft bough up patents through third party purchasing to capitalize on gaming with no return.

Microsoft has spent how many billions on their gaming department with zero NEW AAA games in over decade?

There is no monopoly on output from a company. If Microsoft wanted high end gaming, they could easily do it instead of spending money monopolizing companies with patents and install base and selling their consumers via marketing with cheaply made games.

This is the dumbest paid for advertising Microsoft has paid for though…
Getting politicians to make up this crap.

Imalwaysright76d ago

"Lets not forget alot of devs moved on from nintendo due to their stubbornness and not moving on with disc"

"Far as the saturn it was doomed from the jump sega fumbled that." Not sure what exactly is the point of you saying that but ok...

"Bring up sega saturn tomb raider al you want but those deals happened before sony was in gaming."

Yes, bringing facts to the table is something that I like to do because it means that I'm not a liar or ignorant and I think it's safe to say that we agree that MS wasn't the company that started to make deals with 3rd party publishers/devs don't we?

Lifexline76d ago

Damm it’s crazy on this website when you state facts a lot of people get butthurt. Nothing I said wasn’t true.

As for what some of you are saying I know MS does it as well which is why i said Sony started it first. People need to learn reading comprehension.

All I’m saying is people shouldn’t be hypocrites if something is allowed for a company then it should be allowed for another as well. Not pick and choose.

But paying for timed exclusives or to pay for parity because your console is weaker or to pay to not bring a game to a certain console should be an outdated practice. The government needs to open an anticompetitive investigation that’s what they need to focus on that’s what actually hurts consumers.

Abracadabra76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

Find it funny that some people claim Microsoft started 3rd party exclusive deals. They completely forgot about the exclusive GTA3 Sony deal for the PS2 in 2002!!! Very selective memory they have.

I'm not even going to mention the original FF7 exclusive Sony deal in 1997....

FlintGREY76d ago


The Saturn version was canceled due to hardware limitations BEFORE the Sony deal. Nice try though.

IamTylerDurden176d ago

Like what? U spew bs with no information. Shady deals? Timed or other exclusivity? Like MS hasn't paid to keep games off PS? Remember Mass Effect, Oblivion, Bioshock? Dead Rising 3? Titanfall? Pugb? Tomb Raider? Like a Dragon? They constantly do timed deals rn. They still do forever deals ie The Gunk. They sack in development PS games ie Redfall n Starfield. Yes it was in regards to acquisition but they still pulled them when u can argue it makes more sense to release those games multi, do day 1 Gamepass, and have the sequels be exclusive. MS relies more on day 1 Gamepass anyway, to me, it was unfortunate to see them toss dev work in the bin and literally pull games from PS fans just to stick it to Sony.

To act like Sony has been the shady company and MS is clean is ignorant especially when u come with no facts. Every company is shady but the Bethesda and ABK deals are literally unprecedented. How anyone can say they help competition or are a positive precedent is beyond me. How the richest company, gobbling the most devs is the victim is beyond me. All companies are shady but MS the money n power to make the most impactful and shady deals. Bethesda wasn't shady? They said game by game basis and that they weren't trying to take games from PS and did exactly that. They changed their tune and implied everything going forward would be exclusive to GP and pulled in development games from PS. ABK wasn't shady? Purchasing a company during a grotesque lawsuit bc it was an opportunity? Keeping Bobby in any capacity? Ousting him should've been a requirement to even negotiate a deal. MS as a company doesn't have a shady past? Ppl should do their research absolutely, u have a point.

Imalwaysright75d ago


Not true. Here's the interview with Paul Douglas.

"Did you get a version of Tomb Raider 2 working in Sega Saturn?

There was a version being done alongside the PC and PS1 until Sony did the exclusivity deal."

thecodingart75d ago

This has to be the winner in most unfactual and ill educated fanboyish comment I’ve seen this month. Congratulations.

+ Show (13) more repliesLast reply 75d ago
1Victor76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

Without reading the article
Let me guess a republican
Now to read it 🤷🏿
Ooh I’m surprised it wasn’t a fellow republican looking up for Microsoft.
Btw Xbox have a higher specs than PlayStation and all of the sudden PlayStation is a monopoly on high end consoles 🤦🏿

“I’m told that Sony controls a monopoly of 98% of the high-end game market, yet Japan’s government has allowed Sony to engage in blatant anti-competitive conduct through exclusive deals and payments to game publishers, establishing games that are among the most popular in Japan.”

Yeah someone is listening to their
Microsoft briefcase instead of doing a bit of research 😩 seriously 98% of the game market 🤦🏿

S2Killinit76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

SHe is a lobbyist. She is on payroll. All these senators are basically interns for major corporations. This one is essentially letting everyone know how corrupt she is.

There used to be a guy who was advocating for laws forcing senators to wear patches (in same way that motor sports drivers do) for the corporations that sponsor them. I hope his campaign is still alive.

Petebloodyonion76d ago

You're right 98% is illogical unless you use the same argument of the FTC that Nintendo Switch is not a high-end market console.
If the case, then yes Sony owns at least 90% of the space.
Again the important aspect is using the same metric that the FTC suddenly invented of the high-end console market.

Imalwaysright76d ago


Weren't you the one that not long ago argued that U.S. politicians weren't corrupt? Glad that you're finally seeing sense.

crazyCoconuts76d ago

She's a Democrat. But more importantly she represents the state of Washington. Let's see, isn't there a big company involved here based out of Redmond?

theindiearmy76d ago


FTC used that metric because that's what Sony used in their response against the merger. Now it looks like it may come back to bite Sony in the ass.

TheLigX76d ago

Not a republican, but the Senator from WA where microsoft has their hq. Democrats and Republicans are equally corrupt and reside in the pockets of oligarchs.

Count-Zero76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

98% of the gaming market 𝘐𝘕 JAPAN, which is not hard to believe at all. That's why the article goes on to say:

"She’s referring to the Japanese market with her “98% of the high-end game market” statistic". Do some better reading mate.

Extermin8or3_76d ago

contrary to popular belief actually the republicans don't get on all too well with MS. MS are very pally with a number of democrats however.

S2Killinit76d ago

I dont remember but, Depends on what we are comparing them to. Context is important.

hiroyukisanada76d ago

As soon as I saw "I'm told.." I immediately stopped listening to her 🤣 People blatantly lying just cracks me up

+ Show (7) more repliesLast reply 76d ago
BlackTar18776d ago

This is the senator who’s number one contributor from 1991-2022 was Microsoft corp to the tune of almost 530k. I’m sure there no conflict of interest there.

Why is that not in this article? I wonder……..

cheetah75d ago

Because Kotaku is corrupt as well. Sony just needs to get some black trans woman on the board and Kotaku would be much more supportive lolz

aconnellan75d ago

Your claim is technically correct but needs a big asterisk. Here’s the link:

Individuals who work at Microsoft donated $526,943 over the last 30 years. Microsoft as a corporation donated $2,875.

Just because someone donates doesn’t mean their place of work supports or advocates for what they donated to

z2g76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

Sony PlayStation is under investigation in Japan. There’s no bias. Sony IS doing this. They invented the timed exclusive. It was originally designed to block key IP from launching on Xbox consoles during critical windows of growth all the way back to the OG Xbox. Started with grand theft auto. Then silent hill and final fantasy. They still do it today. They block call of duty content on Xbox and call exclusive PlayStation content. They buy marketing rights to huge games - kinda part of why they don’t want MS buying blizzard. It’s not a trust issue with Sony, it’s a power issue - as in they will lose negotiating power.

Also - no government should be helping any company in a competitive market gain an edge. That’s the very reason things like the CMA, FTC etc exist; to keep the playing field fair.

1Victor76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

@z2g: “Sony PlayStation is under investigation in Japan. There’s no bias. Sony IS doing this”

Link please because I did a G search and nothing came out except for the data breach and some PS vita overheating over 2 years ago.
Btw all 3 companies does the time exclusives it’s normal it doesn’t block games already on development from going to other platforms unlike what Microsoft has and is doing now with games like gears of war and the Bethesda games on development before the acquisition

DarXyde76d ago

The article lays out an extremely clear case of why this is disingenuous if we're being objective. Really, you're going to rule out every competitor in Japan EXCEPT Microsoft, who has never done well to attract anyone in Japan? Really? Considering she's a representative from WA state, I've got a pretty good feeling a lobbyists from Redmond has her ear.

This is such a carefully curated claim, and very indicative of the mind games being played in DC.

I don't doubt Sony throws money to publishers to secure some deals. Naturally, it needs to be enough to curry favor and give incentive to NOT put their games on other platforms. Super shady and I don't like that; if every third party game is multiplatform, go by the strength of your first party offering and let that be what sets you apart (along with controller and VR, actually). If you need to throw more money at a publisher to make it compatible with VR, fair enough. Do that, and offer your consumers that choice. But the deals and acquisitions really need to stop.

That all being said, if you're looking at this article and you're blindly agreeing with Cantwell, even when the timing (i.e., the need to close the deal very soon), the opportunity to increase revenue for her state since Microsoft is headquartered there (and she's up for reelection next year), and the cherry picked criterion for what constitutes "high end gaming" align.... You're just not paying attention, mate. You're just not.

fr0sty76d ago

"I'm told that Sony controls 98% of the high-end gaming market."

And in that line, they told us they are an ill-informed fool who needs to do some research. Yes, Sony is the leader of the pack, by far, but they don't in any way, shape, or form control 98% of the "high end gaming" market share.

They've also never bought a developer or publisher that used to make third party games and had them make those games exclusives. They've never bought an entire publisher either, only individual studios.

darthv7276d ago

They bought Psygnosis... They were both a developer and publisher of many 3rd party games. I'm just going to guess you didn't know that but carry on.

TravsVoid75d ago

Every developer they've ever purchased, at one point, made games for other platforms.

zaanan76d ago

Did anyone, including the submitter, even read TFA!?? The Democrat senator from Washington was waaaayyy off base.

From the article:
“It’s very strange that, with so many actual and credible ways she could be criticising Sony’s opposition to the deal, she’s settled on some wildly inaccurate statistics and a direct attack on the Japanese government.”

Abracadabra76d ago

Sony is a cancer to this industry.

gerbintosh75d ago (Edited 75d ago )

Lets not kid ourselves here. This senator has no credibility because they are from the state of Washington and she had connections to MS.

Also, MS has a monopoly on the operating system for high end gaming PC. Shill is not talking about that

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 75d ago
Knushwood Butt76d ago

Looks at the current JP sales chart. Hogwarts the top selling PS game.

Flewid63876d ago

Thats actually great to hear.

Gardenia75d ago

I have a feeling this now has become more about politics, so USA Microsoft vs Japan Sony. Because all the money Microsoft is making is also good for the USA.
The EU might not be blinded by this, so the outcome could be different.

jonny89776d ago

Maria Cantwell is lobbying hard for the Activision deal to succeed. Microsoft is the biggest contributor to her political campaign

Cantwell: "Microsoft employees are some of the most dedicated and hard-working people in Washington state and around the world"


blackblades76d ago

Sounds like a kiss azz, the personal could shut up and stay in there lane.

VenomUK76d ago

@jonny897 I'm not familiar with the many US politicians but for this senator to come out and blast Japanese company Sony as anti-competitive in a climate of the dominance of US Big Tech seemed to indicate more to the story which these facts reveal.

Elda76d ago

A-ha!!!...& I'm not talking about the synth band.

zaanan75d ago

I understood that reference! ;)

DazaMc76d ago

This should be the top comment.

Flakegriffin76d ago

What’s even funnier is that the biggest company funding her is Microsoft.

Totally not bias.

Anunnaki76d ago

Exactly. It makes no sense for a US senator to be concerned with the market of one small foreign country when considering a worldwide merger that threatens to stifle competition on a global scale.

IamTylerDurden176d ago

But that's not shady? It's funny how ppl forgot when MS paid to keep Mass Effect and Bioshock off PS. Or Dead Rising, Tomb Raider, Pubg, Titanfall, etc. And yeah, MS, one of the world's richest companies isn't shady. You get to the point by being clean lol.

merlox74d ago

Ain't nothing wrong with that!!!

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 74d ago
Knushwood Butt76d ago

Does Nintendo control 100% of the low-end game market?

Outside_ofthe_Box76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

🤫 shhh! Don't use their own logic against them!

XiNatsuDragnel76d ago

Doesn't nintendo control the market there? Not Sony??

Ryuk_200776d ago

The big regulators and Sony decided it was smart to exclude Nintendo altogether and make it M$ vs Sony. If you're going to make it that Nintendo doesn't compete with the others, then you make both PlayStation and Nintendo monopolies of their own market sectors. Sony owns 98% of the market in Japan vs Xbox. Allowing Sony to make all kinds of deals with Japanese publishers to exclude games from M$.

XiNatsuDragnel76d ago

Honestly you're right sadly the government is not being smart and purposely disingenuous when they avoid Nintendo. Either way Nintendo and Sony dominate that market.

Redemption-6476d ago (Edited 76d ago )

You guys are not very smart, why use what regulators are say in Europe and apply it to the Japanese market? Removing Nintendo even in Europe doesn't increase or decrease Sony's market share, it remains the same. You and your ilk might not know this, but European regulators are not Japanese regulators

Also, this politician said, she was told, which means, she is very misinformed and only passing on what she was told. Isn't Microsoft one of her biggest donors?

HardKnockKid2476d ago

@ Redemption-64, real question, no snark….. why’re you mad?

Redemption-6476d ago (Edited 76d ago )


Mad about what? Pointing out how stupid it is for a politician in America, who claimed they were told something about Europe and then using that to apply to the Japanese market, is stupid? You would think people would be start enough to know Europe is not Japan. Or the fact that, Microsoft is one of this politician's biggest donors? I guess I can see how using logic is difficult for some.

Asplundh76d ago (Edited 76d ago )

Says: "You guys are not very smart"

Yet doesn't know that the FTC are not "European regulators"