The trial with the FTC was an opportunity for Satya Nadella, the boss of Microsoft, to speak out on the video game market. According to him, Microsoft revered in ending console exclusives.
Day 4 for the hearings of the lawsuit between the FTC and Microsoft and a rather important day since it was the occasion for the bosses of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick, and Microsoft, Satya Nadella, to testify concerning this takeover project at 68 .7 billion.
At the center of the debates, the question of the exclusivity of Call of Duty if the license should fall under the control of Microsoft. Bobby Kotick’s testimony was an opportunity to talk about the Nintendo Switch and the manufacturer’s next console, that of Satya Nadella focused on the question of PlayStation and Xbox exclusivities.
“I would like to get rid of all the exclusives”
During a perfectly chiseled testimony, Satya Nadella both pleaded for the end of exclusive console games while questioning Sony.
If it were up to me, I’d love to get rid of all console exclusives, but that’s not for me to define, especially as a low share player in the console market. The dominant market player has defined competition using exclusives, so this is the world we live in. I don’t like this world.
According to the boss of Microsoft, exclusive consoles, that is to say games that only come out on one platform to motivate the purchase of the console, would be a bad thing. As he recalls later in his testimony, Satya Nadella has always defended the development of software on the maximum available platform since he became Microsoft boss. One of his first acts as CEO was to deploy the Microsoft Office suite on the iPad. At the start of the trial, we learned that Microsoft had seriously considered offering its Xbox games on competing consoles.
When Satya Nadella speaks of a dominant player, he is above all referring to Sony PlayStation, part of whose commercial strategy is to deprive Xbox consoles of certain games. The latest case is Final Fantasy XVIa great game according to .
Are exclusives a good thing?
With this testimony, Satya Nadella raises the question of the interest of console exclusives. Content strategy has been an integral part of game console competition for several generations. The reason many gamers buy a PlayStation is to play the latest The Last of Us Or Spiderman. Similarly, the purchase of a Nintendo console is often motivated by franchises Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda or Pokemon.
The key to the debate is that the development of these multi-hundred-million-dollar games (220 million in the case of The Last of Us Part 2) is validated by manufacturers, not only for their potential sales, but also their ability to attract to a specific game console.
In other words, in a world without exclusives, would Sony agree to spend so much budget in the development of these games so appreciated by critics and the public. Would they take a different form with other monetization systems? These are perhaps the flip sides to consider.
Conversely, to go in the direction of the boss of Microsoft, the very idea of the exclusivities of a console is part of an ecological nonsense. It forces the player to invest in an Xbox and a PlayStation, two consoles with very similar characteristics, if he wishes to play games from both manufacturers. The good news is that there is a machine that brings together more and more games from both manufacturers: the PC. For Nintendo games, on the other hand, the debate remains unresolved.