By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. Close

Forums - Gaming Discussion - What do the big 3 do if regulators in the US or EU force the closed storefronts open?

Recently, Microsoft made a PR blogpost meant to address head on its oncoming regulatory review for its purchase of ABK. The headline that got the most publicity was Microsoft committing to maintain Call of Duty as a multi-platform product, but the main thrust of the blog post was far more broad and frankly important. 

In it, Microsoft committed to open storefront principles, in what can only be interpreted as a clear shot at Apple and Google. They recommitted to supporting competing storefronts and apps on windows, and supported new legislation to force these principles on other ecosystems. One such bill is currently in congress: 

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/2710/text

This bill seems to specifically target “general purpose computing devices”, but applied broadly enough that could be any device that supports web browser functionality, or *could* support such functionality. This bill (or something similar) would force closed ecosystem devices to allow side loading of apps and alternative store fronts and payment methods. 

It should be immediately apparent why this would be worrisome for a console manufacturer, especially one that sells hardware at break even or a loss and makes up the profit on the back end via a closed storefront. 

Should this or a similar bill pass, and should it be applied to game consoles, what would be the next move for a Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo? The entire basis for Sony and Microsoft’s console business in particular is based on collecting store fees in their closed storefronts. What do they do if every publisher is able to install their own storefronts on game consoles, circumventing the main storefronts and the 30% fees on all games and micro transactions? 



Around the Network

Chaos would ensue.



It for one would lead to more consolidation and also work arounds like those that paid the 30% would become premium brands and get better access and coverage on the store.



Research shows Video games  help make you smarter, so why am I an idiot

I think that, at least going by this particular bill, that's unlikely.

I don't think a game console can be fairly considered a general purpose device. Particularly the Switch, which has very limited features outside gaming.

Also, the bill requires a user base of 50,000,000. I think Switch is around 30 million ATM? So, it may or may not ever reach the threshhold. But, keep in mind 50 million units sold doesn't mean 50,000,000 users in the app store. I'm guessing it would be less. It depends how that is defined, the statute is pretty vague.

It seems like this would likely be limited mostly to cell phone/pc markets. I don't see it hitting gaming devices.



JWeinCom said:

I think that, at least going by this particular bill, that's unlikely.

I don't think a game console can be fairly considered a general purpose device. Particularly the Switch, which has very limited features outside gaming.

Also, the bill requires a user base of 50,000,000. I think Switch is around 30 million ATM? So, it may or may not ever reach the threshhold. But, keep in mind 50 million units sold doesn't mean 50,000,000 users in the app store. I'm guessing it would be less. It depends how that is defined, the statute is pretty vague.

It seems like this would likely be limited mostly to cell phone/pc markets. I don't see it hitting gaming devices.

What do you mean, the Switch is around 30mil?



Around the Network

I think they mean the North American or US total that the US bill would apply to.



ireadtabloids said:

I think they mean the North American or US total that the US bill would apply to.

Ah, makes sense.



I am sure they will be able to find ways to either circumvent that or find ways to make money.

For example, lets say the bill goes through. Most likely, a store like EGS won't come pre-installed on Playstation and the user has to go out to their website and install it. Now I'd say that's already quite a lot of console users that won't go out and install other stores. But on top of that, I am sure to develop on a closed platform like Playstation, you would still need Sonys approval regardless of whether you publish on Playstation Store or some other store.

So Sony could add in a clause similar to what Valve does with Steam where if you want to publish a game on Playstation, you cannot have the MSRP be lower on any other store on Playstation. So if a game dev wants to put a game on Playstation Store for $20, they can't release the game on EGS for $15. And at that point, I think most people wouldn't even install another store.

So I wouldn't be too worried.



             

                               Anime: Haruhi                                                                                                           Nsfw Anime Thread                                     

Captain_Yuri said:

I am sure they will be able to find ways to either circumvent that or find ways to make money.

For example, lets say the bill goes through. Most likely, a store like EGS won't come pre-installed on Playstation and the user has to go out to their website and install it. Now I'd say that's already quite a lot of console users that won't go out and install other stores. But on top of that, I am sure to develop on a closed platform like Playstation, you would still need Sonys approval regardless of whether you publish on Playstation Store or some other store.

So Sony could add in a clause similar to what Valve does with Steam where if you want to publish a game on Playstation, you cannot have the MSRP be lower on any other store on Playstation. So if a game dev wants to put a game on Playstation Store for $20, they can't release the game on EGS for $15. And at that point, I think most people wouldn't even install another store.

So I wouldn't be too worried.

It also explains why EGS always had an obvious "last minute" sale discount on those timed exclusive games, a week or a month before they hit Steam, so as not to break that rule Valve set the devs releasing on Steam.

Sont could pull a Valve, but I'd still see stores like EGS doing that sneaky last minute discount, which is close to skirting that rule. Personally I think it needs to be changed slightly, so stores like EGS can't pull obvious moves out of their backsides at the last moment, so if they still want to get that cheeky discount before it would hit say, Sony store, EGS would then have to converse with those devs and have the sale 2-3 months before it hits the Sony store, instead of within weeks to the last month, because the latter just screams desperation to retain users from buying it on the Sony store, which I see as both a threat and pathetic at the same time. 

And it's not something I think Sony should suggest as a rule, no, I think this is something the govs should be setting up, so the side skirting can be either tracked further on (and then swiftly punished via a fine if they keep pulling the same stunts), or everyone else falls in line with that rule.

I know EG wants that pandora's box open, because they think it'll benefit them, but at the same time I don't think they should be allowed to do what they already do to Steam, to everyone else, which is why I think the govs should be the one to enforce that rule over them, instead of per-store basis (which I don't really see Valve bothering with, since Epic is side skirting them a lot these days, and I think that needs to be full on stopped).



Step right up come on in, feel the buzz in your veins, I'm like an chemical electrical right into your brain and I'm the one who killed the Radio, soon you'll all see

So pay up motherfuckers you belong to "V"

ireadtabloids said:

I think they mean the North American or US total that the US bill would apply to.

You are correct sir. Although, I forgot that Canada and Mexico exist, so the actual number would be a bit smaller. The bill does specify users in the US.