Congressmen from both parties are urging the Biden administration to take action against what they consider to be unfair competition from Sony PlayStation in Japan. They claim that Sony’s commercial practices in the Japanese market block American companies, making it difficult for them to compete with the console giant. These practices may also violate commercial agreements between the United States and Japan.
Senator Maria Cantwell raised the issue with Trade Representative Katherine Tai during a hearing. At the same time, 10 members of the House sent two letters to Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urging them to act. The letters claim that Sony has 98% of the high-end console market in Japan and is preventing hit Japanese games from coming to Microsoft’s Xbox, potentially violating Japan’s antitrust laws.
Sony’s tactics concern American developers and publishers, who see their income in Japan diminished as a result. While Nintendo dominates the Japanese market, exclusive games on PlayStation consoles such as Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XVI highlight the importance of fair competition.
Microsoft is putting pressure on Sony with its recent purchase of Activision Blizzard and has called for an investigation into Sony’s anti-competitive practices. The Congressmen are asking that Sony’s issue be raised with the Japanese government and that additional barriers be identified to provide American companies fair access to the Japanese market.
Sony has not commented on the matter, but Tai has pledged to investigate further.
In conclusion, this call for action highlights the ongoing issue of fair competition in the gaming industry, particularly in Japan. The letters sent to the Biden administration emphasize the need to protect American companies from anti-competitive practices and to ensure a level playing field. It remains to be seen what action will be taken, but this issue is sure to continue to generate discussion in the gaming community.