One of the most iconic clashes in the video game industry is certainly that of Microsoft against Sony to try to get the purchase of Activision Blizzard. While Sony is trying to ally with regulators in the US, UK and Australia to try to prevent the merger from happening, Microsoft is trying to propose a series of concessions to get the deal approved.
This week, we have the highly anticipated judgment of the lawsuit filed by the FTC to try to stop the merger in the US, which causes more impressive behind-the-scenes details to come to light.
Since Microsoft started the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, Sony has been trying to use Call of Duty as one of the main arguments to prevent the merger from happening. The PlayStation owner has already shown her fear of losing the franchise on her consoles after the merger, in addition to also stating that she may receive non-optimized versions of the game in the future, as a way for Microsoft to try to sabotage the PlayStation.
Although Microsoft representatives have already publicly stated that they will deliver identical versions of the games for all platforms, without any decreases in optimization, in addition to also offering a 10-year agreement for the franchise on PlayStation, that was not enough.
With the judgment of the US Federal Trade Commission approaching, new details of this clash have surfaced, showing that the lack of optimization in Call of Duty and in possible other Activision Blizzard games can indeed happen, but as a security measure of Sony itself.
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
During an April deposition, Jim Ryan, head of SIE, told the FTC that Sony’s collaborations with Activision in the past have allowed developers to deliver better features on PlayStation consoles that have helped the hardware stand out from competitors.
But if Activision were bought by Microsoft, that partnership would be lost, according to Ryan.
We simply cannot take the risk of a company belonging to a direct competitor having access to this information.
As an independent company, Ryan said Activision is incentivized to “make great games on all platforms,” but post-acquisition, it would be more concerned with improving the Xbox business than leveraging the PS5’s unique features or helping to Sony to develop better consoles.
In a heavily edited section of Ryan’s discussion with the FTC, the executive suggested that Sony’s experience working with Minecraft developer Mojang after Microsoft acquired the studio gave the company reason to worry that the same will happen. with Activision.
Therefore, it is clear that many developers help in the process of building a new console, something recently commented by the director of Final Fantasy XVI, who declared that the technical power of the PS5 helped to realize his vision for the game. Should the merger actually happen, we’ll see Activision being left out of Sony’s plans for the PS6, which will impact not only game development, but the entire generation to come.
Will Ryan’s arguments be enough to convince the FTC to block the merger?