Microsoft, Nintendo & Sony collaborate to warn US government about China trade tariff’s effects on gaming

June 26, 2019

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Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have collaborated to warn the United States government about the effects that the recent China trade tariff will have on the production of video games consoles.

In a seven-page letter to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, a representative from each of the three big console manufacturers put in their word regarding the recent sanctions. Writing to General Counsel Joseph L. Barloon, the document explains, in detail, the problems that console manufacturers face.

The document focuses on not only the harm that the proposed tariffs would have on small and medium-sized software developers across the US, but also how it would hinder the future development of technology. In regards to console gaming, the trio notes that console hardware is highly specialised with complex supply chains.

“Unlike PCs, each of our consoles has a custom hardware configuration and design and offers unique and differentiating features that run on proprietary software operating systems connected to each company’s unique platform and services,” the three wrote. “Games and services designed for one console must be re-engineered—through a labour-intensive process known as “porting”—to operate on another console or on a PC, at significant cost to the video game publisher.”

With companies like Nintendo already pulling out of China for fear of the US’ trade sanctions, it’s no wonder that both Sony and Microsoft are also worried. The three note that removing their production lines outside of Chinese territories would result in a price hike of 25%, eliminating the appearance of new console hardware from many American homes, therefore harming the income of American countries.

Of course, this is all delegated to the harm of American companies. Chinese hardware developers like Huawei are already feeling the brunt of the US’ threats. With FedEx suing the American government over the tariff threat and letters like this, will the US distance themselves from the trade ban?

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