In one of the latest hearings between Microsoft and the FTC regarding the gaming giant’s controversial acquisition of Activision/Blizzard, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella seemed to blame Sony for the fact that console exclusives exist.
During his recent testimony with the FTC, Satya Nadella was quoted as saying:
“If it was up to me I would love to get rid of the entire exclusives on consoles, but that’s not for me to define especially as a low share player in the console market. The dominant player there [Sony] has defined market competition using exclusives, so that’s the world we live in. I have no love for that world.”
Of course, Microsoft is the company behind exclusive titles like Halo, Gears of War, Fable, Forza, Crackdown, and Sea of Thieves; not to mention recent and up-coming exclusives due to acquisitions of previously multi platform developers like Bethesda and Arkane. It’s a little odd, then, that Mr. Nadella’s recent statement seems to suggest the practice of creating exclusive games is a) wrong, and b) something he finds morally reprehensible.
This sentiment from Mr. Nadella continues Microsoft’s recent ‘woe is me’ rhetoric that is being used to suggest Microsoft are in no way responsible for their current position in the market, and it is instead the fault of competitor companies like Sony and Nintendo, both of whom have made a name for themselves by filling niches in the gaming market with their exclusive content.
In the case of Sony, their focus since the PS3 has been to provide well-written, cinematic, single-player experiences in their exclusive titles, resulting in some of the best loved franchises in gaming history. And again with Nintendo, who have focused on hardware innovations, single player experiences that expand on beloved games, and have also provided a family-friendly space in the overall gaming market. When you place Microsoft under the microscope, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what their niche is these days. On the other hand, the Xbox for many years was poised towards catering to online shooting experiences for the american gaming market, which is partly why Microsoft have struggled to break into the asian market, but this is very much a bed of their own making.
Microsoft’s case with the FTC is still ongoing, but it has already brought a number of industry secrets to public attention, such as the fact that The Last of Us 2 cost over $200 million to make. There are still a number of weeks left on this case, so for now we will wait to see what new information comes out of this controversial hearing.