Legalities of XBLA's rival platform policy detailed

Dominic Sacco
Legalities of XBLA's rival platform policy detailed

There’s nothing wrong with Microsoft’s decision not to publish downloadable games on Xbox Live if they arrive on rival systems first, a lawyer has claimed.

Last month the publisher’s VP of interactive entertainment business for Europe Chris Lewis said the reason for not publishing rival exclusives is because it’s protecting its space within the market.

Sony later argued that Microsoft is just “protecting an inferior technology”.

“These threats and these serious issues that Microsoft is throwing at publishers are only going to dumb down what could potentially come out for a number of these games,” said SCEA’s senior VP of publisher relations Rob Dyer.

But gaming lawyer Jas Purewal says Microsoft is well within its rights, as it is not in a dominant market position.

“Various people began commenting about whether Microsoft is engaged in anti-competitive activity,” he said on his blog Gamer/Law.

“Sorry, these are non-stories.  Competition regulators are unlikely to get involved here. To explain why, European competition law exists to ensure a level playing field between competing businesses. 

“In legal terms, the EU focuses primarily on regulating agreements between businesses in the EU which harm competition in the EU, and a business in the EU which is in a dominant market position abusing that position. 

“It seems generally acknowledged that none of the three main console manufacturers are in a dominant market position and therefore the terms on which they agree to make games available on their consoles seem unlikely to be a matter for competition regulators. 

“It's also worth bearing in mind that it's fairly standard for all the console manufacturers to have some form of restrictions regarding their developer partners' relationships with rival console manufacturers.”

UPDATE: Jas Purewal has since commented on his Twitter page saying his article is an opinion piece

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Tags: xbox live , psn , Digital , europe , chris lewis , rival , law , exclusives , lawyer , platforms , rob dyer , Jas Purewal , Gamer/Law

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