I'm a co-founder of the Canadian Gamers Organization. We are a consumer advocacy group in Canada. Most non XBOX gamers that have purchased elite premium memberships quite rightly believe that it is unfair to give these map packs out to XBOX first. We believe that this practice is unfair, punishes non-XBOX users, undermines other consoles in the market, and most importantly is not legal in Canada. Today our Organization has filed a complaint with The Canadian Federal Competition Bureau and asked them to further investigate this pact between Microsoft and Activision. The letter sent in on behalf of the Canadian Gamers Organization is as follows:
The Canadian Gamers Organization (CGO) is a consumer advocacy group for Canadian Gamers. We are contacting you to get more information on the legality of an agreement made between XBOX and game publisher Activision around the Call of Duty game series. Microsoft has initiated into a partnership with the publisher Activation in which non-XBOX consumers have a penalty put on them for the availability of new content for this game. We are specifically concerned around a penalty being applied to premium consumers of Call of Duty Elite in which many gamers have spent approx $50 CDN for 9 months of additional game content which includes the purchase of addition maps for the game on all platforms. Consumers who have purchased Elite Premium Memberships have a reasonable expectation upon point of sale that all Elite Premium members would be receiving content at the same time, and nothing was disclosed for those who purchased the game and premium memberships. In December, the developer of the game officially published that XBOX Call of Duty Elite Premium Members would be receiving premium content first.
The partnership Microsoft has with Activision is that XBOX platform users would receive new additional DLC one month ahead of every other platform. We are also concerned about the lack of disclosure of such an arrangement towards consumers on point of sale, and through advertising especially through the Call of Duty Elite Premium memberships. CGO feels the current arrangement between Microsoft and Activision is unfair to the consumer that uses a non-XBOX version of the game, and maybe an attempt by Microsoft to gain an unfair competitive edge over other gaming platforms by putting penalties on consumers for not owning a suppliers nominated product. CGO’s believes the Competition Act clearly states rules against this practice in Canada.
CGO believes by putting a one month penalty on new DLC releases for non-XBOX consumers of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 is an example of the “tied selling” definition set out in Section 72 (1) of the Competition Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-34) which states:
“tied selling” means
(a) any practice whereby a supplier of a product, as a condition of supplying the product (the "tying" product) to a customer, requires that customer to
- acquire any other product from the supplier or the supplier’s nominee, or
(b) any practice whereby a supplier of a product induces a customer to meet a condition set out in subparagraph (a)(i) or (ii) by offering to supply the tying product to the customer on more favourable terms or conditions if the customer agrees to meet the condition set out in either of those subparagraphs.
Specifically CGO believes that more favourable terms are presented by the publisher Activision for those that acquire an XBOX gaming system over other platforms by allowing XBOX platform users to download this content early.
Under Section 72 (2) the Act states:
(2) Where, on application by the Commissioner or a person granted leave under section 103.1, the Tribunal finds that exclusive dealing or tied selling, because it is engaged in by a major supplier of a product in a market or because it is widespread in a market, is likely to
- (a) impede entry into or expansion of a firm in a market,
- (b) impede introduction of a product into or expansion of sales of a product in a market, or
- (c) have any other exclusionary effect in a market,
We would ask that the Competition Bureau further investigate.
(Co-Founder Canadian Gamers Organization)
Is this your first COD!?!?! When COD first came out Microsoft threw tons of money at Activision to get everything before Sony, to try to make COD a Xbox exclusive. It didnt work. Why all the whining and crying though. This happens every COD. Because Xbox gets them first, you are at NO DISADVANTAGE whatsoever. No one on ps3 has them yet.
Thank you for your efforts Jason.
Please keep us updated on the situation.
While I am not a member of any consumer advocacy group here in the United States, I would highly suggest ANY and ALL concerned PS3 Elite Premium members file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and FTC.
Additionally, spreading awareness of the issue through both traditional (IGN, CNN) and social (Facebook, Reddit, etc) media outlets can only serve to further our cause.
For too long now, Activison has ignored and willfully neglected its PS3 user base.
With the COD franchise experiencing yearly "refreshes" and subsequent DLC releases, many of us have become accustomed to being treated like "second class" consumers when compared to our Xbox 360 counterparts.
And while I understand that Microsoft has an exclusivity agreement in place with Activision for DLC, I refuse to be "discriminated" against yet again with it's Elite Premium subscription service simply because I use the PS3 console.
After all, did we not pay the SAME amount of money for both MW3 and COD Elite Premium as Xbox 360 users?
Activision's BBB Profile:
BBB Complaint Form:
FTC Complain Form:
If enough of us are willing to stand together and TAKE ACTION as a community, we can send a CLEAR message to Activision that their discriminatory and unfair practices will no longer be tolerated.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
I agree that the BBB and the FTC in the US should be contacted. The FTC in particular. CGO is trying to find out first if this "arrangement" with Microsoft is legal. Our version of the BBB will be contacted pending outcome of The Canadian Federal Competition Bureau's investigation. I think right now, important questions on this arrangement need to be answered, and should be within the context of law.