The Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO continues to share his concerns with the FTC regarding the Activision Blizzard takeover.
What if Microsoft used the development of call of duty to retrieve confidential information about Sony’s future console? If this scenario seems almost far-fetched, it is nevertheless a disaster that Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, already imagines. The soap opera of the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft will soon come to an end and the approach of the outcome generates new tensions.
Transcripts of exchanges between Jim Ryan and the Federal Trade Commission, both determined to put an end to this transaction, reveal that Sony would withdraw all confidence placed in the teams of Activision and call of duty after the takeover. The development of games for a future platform still kept secret would require the sharing of information regarding its configuration. If this is no problem when it comes to a third-party developer, the arrival of Activision at Microsoft could be a game-changer. If these kinds of details were to reach the Xbox manufacturer, it could cost PlayStation big. Jim Ryan even wonders if it hasn’t already been the case.
More information sharing
In the event of a takeover, Activision will no longer be able to develop launch titles for a future PlayStation console. The CEO of SIE puts his foot down and does not seem ready to reconsider his decision: “We cannot risk that a company owned by a direct competitor may have access to this kind of information.“. Many elements of the discussions were censored in the versions shared with the public, but a few snippets of conversation suggest that these concerns are not new.
The acquisition of Mojang, the studio behind Minecraft, would have already posed the same problem in the past. Sony would even wonder if confidential information has not already leaked through this. Unfortunately, the details of this part are mostly erased. This passage concerning Mojang, however, reminds Jim Ryan on the importance of the data shared with the studios, which he describes as “extremely sensitive“. Did the Mojang teams share elements of a development kit with Microsoft? We will certainly never know.
In an FTC v MS/ABK deposition, PlayStation chief Jim Ryan said that, if deal closes, Sony couldn’t tell Activision about its next console
Is then asked about Sony working with Mojang (Minecraft) after MS bought them. Discussion is redacted but Ryan says it supports this concern pic.twitter.com/M86CBm3CcY
—Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) June 21, 2023
However, the debate over confidentiality between the studio and the parent company once again highlights Sony’s hypocrisy in this whole affair. If their fears are well founded, can these have any real weight on the balance of the takeover when Microsoft is facing the same situation? Since the takeover of Bungie, the studio in charge of destinythe Redmond company also finds itself facing a studio owned by its direct competitor.
This long legal and tax battle seems increasingly exhausting as the two parties continue to put obstacles in the way. For the time being, the subject continues to divide gamers and economists: I can’t wait for it to stop.