In an effort to aid in the completion of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf, EA has announced that BioWare veteran Mark Darrah will once more be working with the studio.
After almost 25 years at BioWare, Darrah left the company in February 2021 and is now working as a consultant on the game.
During that time, he led programming for the Baldur’s Gate games, directed Sonic Chronicles and exec produced the Dragon Age series.
When asked about Sony’s apparent anti-competitive behavior, Cantwell said, “I’m told that Sony controls a monopoly of 98% of the high-end game market, yet Japan’s government has allowed Sony to engage in blatant anti-competitive conduct through exclusive deals and payments to game publishers.”
The corresponding Republican letter claims: “We understand that Sony, which holds 98% of the 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.”
Both letters claim that by not acting on these alleged anti-competitive practices, Japan is effectively putting a US company at a disadvantage.
It asserts that the effective policy of non-prosecution adopted by the Japanese government with regard to Sony “appears to be a serious barrier to U.S. exports, with real impacts for Microsoft and the many U.S. game developers and publishers that sell globally but see their earnings in Japan depressed by these practices.”
As a result, a domestic incumbent is able to defend its market share from foreign competitors. Such policies can distort trade just as much as high tariffs or non-tariff barriers like discriminatory licensing practices.
Over the years, Sony has managed to secure a number of third-party games as PlayStation console exclusives, some of which have been produced by Japanese publishers. The company’s relationships with Square Enix, which led to the exclusion of Final Fantasy VII Remake and Final Fantasy XVI from Xbox, are among the most notable examples of this.
Another notable example from the previous generation was Capcom’s Street Fighter V, which has only ever been available on the PS4 and PC since its 2016 release.
According to Axios, the raising of this issue may have been in some way influenced by Microsoft. Although the publication can’t definitively say to what extent this is the case, it does claim to have knowledge that Microsoft’s government affairs team discussed the issue with members of Congress.
In addition, Microsoft spokesman David Cuddy told Axios: “We welcome further investigation to ensure a level playing field in the video game industry. Sony’s anti-competitive tactics deserve discussion.”