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Microsoft's Proposed Strategy To "Spend Sony Out Of Business" Revealed In 2019 Internal Email

Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty wrote the company needed to "avoid a situation where Tencent, Google, Amazon, or even Sony have become the next Disney of games."


As part of the ongoing trial between the Federal Trade Commission and Microsoft, an internal email from Xbox Game Studios chief Matt Booty encouraging Microsoft CFO Tim Stuart to "spend Sony out of business" has been made public. The email, which was sent in December 2019, explains Microsoft's aggressive acquisition plans, which almost resulted in the company purchasing Sega, Niantic, and Bungie.

In the email, first shared by The Verge, Booty writes, "We (Microsoft) are in a very unique position to go spend Sony out of business. If we think that video game content matters in 10 years, we might look back and say, 'Totally would have been worth it to lose $2B or $3B in 2020 to avoid a situation where Tencent, Google, Amazon, or even Sony have become the Disney of games and own most of the valuable content.""

Booty went on to explain how it is "practically impossible" for a company to start a new streaming service due to Disney's competitive holdings, before drawing a comparison between video streaming services and the future of the games industry:

"In games, Google is three to four years away from being able to have a studio up and running. Amazon has shown no ability to execute on game content. Content is the one moat that we have, in terms of a catalog that runs on current devices and capability to create new. Sony is really the only other player who could compete with Game Pass and we have a two year and 10 million subs lead."

In the years since the email was sent, both Sony and Microsoft have increased their portfolios through major studio acquisitions. In 2021, Sony purchased Returnal-developer Housemarque and noted remake developer Bluepoint Games, followed by Destiny-developer Bungie in 2022. In the same time frame, Microsoft has acquired Bethesda, Arkane, and Tango Gameworks parent-studio ZeniMax Media, as well as initiated the process of purchasing Activision Blizzard, the latter of which being responsible for the company's ongoing trial against the FTC.

In addition to Booty's email, several other pieces of information regarding Microsoft's business and strategies have been revealed throughout the trial, such as Xbox explaining Starfield was planned for PS5 prior to Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax, and Microsoft claiming to have "lost the console war."

Update: Following publication, a Microsoft spokesperson reached out to GameSpot with this statement: “This email is three and a half years old and predates the announcement of our acquisition by 25 months. It refers to industry trends we never pursued and is unrelated to the acquisition.”

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