PlayStation Boss Admitted Xbox/Activision Deal Isn't About CoD Exclusivity In Private Email
"It is not an exclusivity play at all. They’re thinking bigger than that and they have the cash to make moves like this."
At the first day of the legal battle between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission, a major piece of evidence has been presented in court. Microsoft's counsel has revealed an exchange between Sony's PlayStation chief, Jim Ryan, and a former Sony CEO, in which the PlayStation boss discusses his belief that Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard isn't an "exclusivity play" to lock games to Xbox.
"It is not an exclusivity play at all," Ryan's email read (via The Verge). "They’re thinking bigger than that and they have the cash to make moves like this. I've spent a fair amount of time with both [Phil] Spencer and Bobby [Kotick] and I’m pretty sure we will continue to see Call of Duty on PlayStation for years to come."
This email runs counter to the claims that Sony has made in opposition to Microsoft's acquisition plans, as the PlayStation company has frequently argued that if the deal went through, then Microsoft would eventually turn Call of Duty into an Xbox-exclusive franchise. Microsoft would constantly dismiss these claims from Sony, and after it first offered a new three-year extension deal to Sony after the current arrangement ends, it then offered to extend that deal to 10 years, but Sony has yet to agree to it.
In a hypothetical situation cited by Sony earlier this year, the company said that it was worried that Microsoft could release a Call of Duty game on PlayStation that has poorer quality and performance when compared to the Xbox version. However, Ryan went on to say in his email that "we have some good stuff cooking. I'm not complacent, I'd rather this didn't happen, but we'll be OK, we'll be more than OK."
The Call of Duty fears formed a large part of the UK's Competition and Market Authority's initial investigation into the acquisition, but those concerns were eventually replaced with an examination of Microsoft's cloud gaming ambitions and how it would impact that market. Eventually, the CMA decided to block the deal, leading both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard to appeal the decision in the UK courts.
The first day of the hearing has seen a few other bombshells so far. Microsoft has openly admitted that it has lost the "console war" against Sony and Nintendo, the FTC claims that Starfield was planned for PS5 prior to the acquisition, and the next console generation may start in 2028.