Sony Issues Formal Rebuttal To UK Regulator Siding with Microsoft; Cites Giant Bomb Forums (i.e., You & Me) As Evidence

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ZombiePie

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#1 ZombiePie  Staff

What is the most important forum thread to ever be created on Giant Bomb? It's likely the thread announcing the passing of Ryan, and if you want to avoid somber topics, "that's million bucks" might also be up there. Well, according to Sony, it's actually a random thread, with a very obvious typo in the title, from over ten years ago, discussing if gamers are "to [sic] picky." What the heck am I talking about? Well, some context might be in order.

Recently, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (i.e., CMA) updated its systems and algorithms after an appeal from Microsoft, and upon doing so, sided with Microsoft in the matter of its potential merger with Activision. This decision is considered by many as an early indicator EU regulators will also side with Microsoft in the future, which in turn will make anti-trust objections in the United States and elsewhere much harder.

At the time, Sony indicated that it would issue a rebuttal/response, as is their right, even if it had no impact on the CMA's overall stance. Sony published that rebuttal yesterday and you can even read it to your heart's desire. Two key points, at least in my opinion, come up in this rebuttal, the first of which is Sony's opposition to the CMA changing its financial models for determining if a merger represented an anti-trust concern. Second, what Sony's insistence that there are not enough check and balances that the merger would not result in vastly inferior ports of Call of Duty on non-Microsoft platforms.

In one section, they provide batches of links to popular online discussions about the competitive video game console landscape, and even state that "Call of Duty gamers are passionate, knowledgeable and sophisticated." In this section of their rebuttal, the links send regulators and readers to various Digital Foundry, IGN, GameSpot, and Giant Bomb forum threads. Think I'm kidding? Well... here you go:

Yup!
Yup!

So... that's weird. The thread they link to from Giant Bomb is over 10 years old and is far from being the most active thread on the site. For goodness' sake, there are even better and more active threads to pick from the annals of Giant Bomb if you want a slice of the begotten days of the "Console Wars" from tradition video game forums.

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BisonHero

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#2  Edited By BisonHero

I would love to know which law firm intern/paralegal had to google around for a week until they could cherry-pick forum threads that vaguely support Sony’s position. What a job.

Anyway, assuming someone were to ever click any of the cited links on different gaming forums, would any judge/regulator even take those forum discussions as holding any weight, when each one is such a small sample of overall consumer attitudes? It’s such a meaningless, arbitrary cross-section of the gaming community to pick out 4-5 random threads across different sites.

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Axl159

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Does this mean Sony is making notes every time I reply with "Chonk if your Chorny"? I feel so naked now...

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personz

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@axl159: Sony has always been watching. Now we just have proof.

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jacobpv

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If you're reading this Sony, put Bloodborne on PC. Thanks.

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BladeOfCreation

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This is actually kind of amazing.

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TheRealTurk

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Because nothing says "Our position is ironclad and legally sound" like citing a bunch of forum randos on the internet.

Also, for anyone who cared to read the original CMA opinion and the Microsoft rebuttal of it, the CMA changed their financial modeling essentially because their math was stupid. The original calculation looked at what Microsoft would gain from withholding CoD vs. what they would lose by allowing it on other platforms. Which sounds fine until you realize the CMA were using a five-year figure for gains but only a one-year figure for losses. Obviously when looking at it like that, it seemed like Microsoft was making out like bandits.

When Microsoft called them out on it, it provoked a very hasty backpedal from the CMA. Kind of hilarious actually. The CMAs revised opinion was essentially to the tune of "Our math works fine because we adopted your math."

At this point, Sony just needs to stop talking. Seriously. Eventually they're going to talk themselves into trouble, if they haven't already.

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eccentrix

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With a title like that, I'm surprised it's not a Topcyclist thread.

I'm sure actual studies have been done into whether review scores and/or general reception affect sales numbers, so the fact that they had to resort to anecdotal evidence is telling.

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Shindig

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#9  Edited By Shindig

That's the thing. There's nothing legal holding the acquisition back. It's a moral question. Can an anti-monopoly regulatory body allow a software giant (with a history of monopolies) to acquire the top selling retail game, the most successful MMO and a mobile game powerhouse? Can it be allowed when Microsoft has already acquired the likes of Bethesda with funds beyond Sony's pockets?

Sure, only one of those could potentially cause Sony problems but the other two's revenues ultimately widen the gap in resources between the two console manufacturers. That would be the angle I'd be pressing.

These questions and more are what powerful, smarter people than me have to consider over the next erm ... year?

Much like Newcastle United's takeover by the Saudi PIF, there's nothing within law stopping it but there is a moral cloud (of a very different nature) hovering over it. In that case, morals be damned, it had to go through because there was nothing within legal means to really prevent it. This will probably follow suit.

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GTxForza

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#10  Edited By GTxForza

I grew up loving the PlayStation and Xbox consoles since my elementary to high school days, I'm pretty speechless on this situation and I don't mind the Call of Duty disappearing from PlayStation consoles by 2024 and beyond, because I don't really like its gameplay style compared to the DICE's Battlefield series. Well, I do not like every 1st party IPs from each console manufacturer due to my personal preferences, so here is the link to one of my old threads.

I also still don't like Activision because they closed down Bizzare Creations, resulting in Blur 2's development being cancelled about 12 years ago. However, Blur, WipEout and Quantum Redshift are the only three combat racing game IPs with powerups that I like.

@jacobpv said:

If you're reading this Sony, put Bloodborne on PC. Thanks.

I remembered Bloodborne was the most requested PlayStation 1st party to be ported to PC, I still don't understand why Sony Interactive Entertainment won't commission FromSoftware (The original developer) or Nixxes Software to port it right now so medieval fantasy RPG fans can enjoy it on PC.

Edit: I can understand why PlayStation and Xbox's 1st parties get ported to PC, so their respective developers and publishers can earn more money while developing games from one generation to one another, they get more expensive.

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AV_Gamer

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#11  Edited By AV_Gamer

GB has always been very influential, which is why the corpos took it over. But I'll echo what someone else said, put Bloodborne on PC or at least release a PS5 next-gen patch, Sony.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Looking forward to the site being quoted in the great Hot Dog vs. the State court case.

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glots

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This is great, but also (continues to be) dumb.

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jeremyf

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It was me. I'm Jim Ryan and it took me hours to picky the right thread from you stupid - er, passionate and sophisticated gamers.

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chrispaul92

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But where do Sony and Microsoft stand on knife vs bat?

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SethMode

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This reminds me of gophering horseshit from the internet during my brief stint as a paralegal and I don't know if I'm happy about that or not.

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Broshmosh

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cikame

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Sony if you're reading this thanks for putting your exclusives on PC.

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beargirl1

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From the looks of it, Sony has also been reading some of my really terrible university research papers so they could learn how to cite sources poorly

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hermes

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@shindig: Actually, there are... it is just that what constitutes a "monopoly" is a rather vague concept, and corporate lawyers love vague concepts.

Also, the regulatory bodies want to save face after the far more lenient attitude they took in high profile and controversial acquisitions in the last few years (AT&T+WB, AB InBev+SABMiller, or Disney+FOX). They have left too many fouls pass between their fingers, so, under a new administration now, they are trying to look tough. Last year, the merger was a foregone conclusion as soon as it was announced, simply because regulatory bodies were seen as corrupt and toothless paper tigers* that couldn't really put a dent in the merger any more than I can stop a wave with my hands.

* Sony, if you are reading this, you can quote me on that

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Undeadpool

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#21  Edited By Undeadpool

Remember between audible bong rips, shrieks to his mom, and racial slurs that "LITBRANDON42069" isn't an asshole, he's just "passionate, knowledgeable, and sophisticated."

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Shindig

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His podcast is very insightful.