Sony must share details of exclusive deals with Microsoft in FTC court hearing
We hope you’re not bored of it yet, but it’s time to once again talk about Microsoft’s industry-shaking attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard. The ridiculous $69 billion deal will see the company absorb Actibliz and all of its intellectual property. The convergence of two such major publishers has raised concerns about antitrust, with Microsoft taking control of many popular franchises – Call of Duty being the biggest of them.
Recently, the North American Federal Trade Commission made clear its reservations about the deal, summoning Microsoft to court to hear why the deal should be allowed and why it would not harm competition. Sony, which was against the acquisition from the beginning, was issued a subpoena by Microsoft, requesting its presence at the hearing and certain documents and information that may be relevant to its case.
Now, it has emerged that Sony has filed multiple appeals to restrict what information will be required to be submitted to the court. Some of these requests were granted by the FTC, but most were denied. In short, Sony should submit:
- Details of all content licensing agreements (broadly exclusivity agreements) from January 2019 onwards
- Jim Ryan’s announcement of the acquisition to the FTC, including all drafts
- Custody records after January 2019
Obviously, Sony has many agreements with third parties in which some or all of the content in a game is exclusive to the PlayStation. Initially, Microsoft’s request was for a contract through 2012; Sony tried to withhold this information entirely, suggesting it would not be relevant to the case and that it would need to dig through more than 150,000 contracts with more than 60,000 companies. While the time scale has been reduced, it will still be a lot of paperwork.
Court hearings are scheduled to begin on August 2, 2023, so there’s still a long way to go before it’s all over. has been highlighted by GamesIndustry.biz, both the European Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority have to submit their decision on whether or not to approve the acquisition by the end of April. On the above site a More detailed report If you are interested in learning more.
Check the latest gaming news here.