Microsoft has revealed that third-party games including Bloodborne, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Final Fantasy 16, and Silent Hill 2 Remake are subject to “exclusion” agreements that will prevent them from being released on Xbox consoles. This information was included in Microsoft’s response to the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against the company’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In the filing, Microsoft alleges that Sony has entered into partnerships with third-party publishers, such as From Software, Square Enix, and Konami, that require the “exclusion” of Xbox from the platforms these publishers can distribute their games on.
While Microsoft acknowledges that “exclusivity strategies are not uncommon in the games industry,” the company seems to take issue with Sony’s partnerships in particular. The reveal of these “exclusion” agreements has further strained the relationship between Microsoft and Sony, two companies with a long history of competition in the gaming market.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority recently held a public consultation on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard and will release its final report on the matter by March 1, 2023. In the meantime, it remains to be seen how the situation will play out and how it will impact the availability of certain games on different platforms. Ultimately, it is up to the publishers and developers to decide how they want to distribute their products, and it is the consumers who will decide which platforms and companies they choose to support.