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Concern in the gaming industry over the purchase of Activision Blizzard: ‘Microsoft can harm us’

Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard last month, a move in the video game industry that rocked markets for $70 billion, has not yet been approved and is already generating controversy. A new report from the BBC investigates whether the continued growth of Xbox Game Pass means that any smaller indies not included as part of the service could fall by the wayside.

GamePass is a monthly subscription, a business model that made Microsoft grow in the video game industry, which is currently turned more to this system similar to Netflix, but with games.

It just so happens that with all of Activision Blizzard’s studios poised to join the Xbox Game Studios family, indie developers are worried that Xbox may eventually release a steady stream of high-profile titles that will dominate the Game Pass library.

An indie developer who shares her concerns in the article is Tanya Short, who created the critically acclaimed Boyfriend Dungeon. (currently on Game Pass).

Boyfriend Dungeon, Short’s game. Photo Kitfox Games

Short said that most independent studios currently avoid releasing games in the run-up to Christmas because they don’t want to compete with “triple A” titles (tanks, blockbusters as they say in the movies), but that this may not be a useful strategy.

“This acquisition of Activision scares us because it makes it that much more obvious: maybe they could dominate the rest of the year and then what do we do?” she said.

The BBC says Short is “one of several independent game developers” who have told it they are concerned about what Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal could mean for the industry.

More concerned developers

It also cites Sad Cat Studios founder and game director Yura Zhadanovich, who is working on the cyberpunk adventure game Replaced, which will also release on Game Pass.

Zhadanovich reportedly praised the way Microsoft has been dealing with his studio, but remained concerned about whether there would continue to be enough support for independent developers as More high-profile titles are added to Game Pass.

The concern is shared by Ampere Analysis analyst Piers Harding-Rolls, who also tells the BBC that as more subscribers sign up for Game Pass, any indie game is likely not on the service have a harder time selling copies.

“Indie games outside of these services could possibly lose share as subscribers focus most of their attention on games they can access for free within the service,” he explained.

The purchase is in the eye of the regulators.  Photo EFE

The purchase is in the eye of the regulators. Photo EFE

Game Pass is one of the reasons the perceived value of indie games is at a “race to the bottom”according to veteran developer Jake Simpson of TNB Studios.

He told the BBC: “People are willing to spend $1,000 on a phone and then get really offended if you ask them to pay $4.99 for a game.”

When asked for comment, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Gaming Ecosystem at Xbox, Sarah Bond, stated: “We continue to invest with independent developers and we will continue to do so as the service grows.”

He argued that Game Pass could actually be beneficial for indie developers because it could encourage gamers to try new game genres than ever before. they had been interestedand then view similar titles if they find they like them.

As an example, he claimed that 60% of players who tried Human Fall Flat on Game Pass had never played a puzzle game before, and 40% of those people bought a different puzzle game that wasn’t on Game Pass.



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