Microsoft Welcomes New Investigation Into Sony's 'Anti-Competitive Tactics' In Japan

Last week, you may remember that a story was doing the rounds about a U.S. senator claiming Sony has a "monopoly of 98% of the high-end game market" in Japan, and that story has evolved substantially over the past few hours.

Axios is reporting that 11 members of Congress are concerned Sony is unfairly hurting Xbox in Japan, which again centres around this "imbalanced" Japanese game market. Here's what one of the letters, signed by four members of Congress, had to say about PlayStation's conduct in the country:

"Our understanding is that the Japanese government tolerates a range of exclusionary conduct by their domestic companies that may violate Japan’s antitrust laws, and that this inaction by the Japanese government harms the ability of U.S. companies to compete in the country."

"We understand that Sony – which holds 98 percent of the [high-end] market – pays third-party game publishers not to make their content available on Xbox and systematically negotiates exclusivity arrangements that keep the most popular games in Japan off Xbox."

It's also mentioned in one of the letters that this "imbalance" could be "violating the spirit" of the U.S.-Japan Digital Trade Agreement, which calls for “non-discriminatory treatment of digital products”.

Axios says that although Microsoft "isn’t saying just how involved it was in orchestrating this push", the outlet understands that Microsoft's government affairs team has "discussed these issues with members of Congress".

Here's what Microsoft spokesperson David Cuddy had to say in a statement:

“Sony’s anti-competitive tactics deserve discussion, and we welcome further investigation to ensure a level playing field in the video game industry."

It'll be interesting to see what happens next, then - we probably haven't heard the last of this!

In related news, there's a good resolution coming out of Japan for Microsoft today, as the Japan Fair Trade Commission has stated the takeover of Activision Blizzard "would not substantially restrain competition in certain fields of trade".

What are your thoughts on all of this? Let us know down in the comments section below.