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Xbox Chief’s List of Activision Games Raises Concerns for Sony

Sony's fears regarding Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard were heightened when Xbox chief Phil Spencer sent a list of games that Microsoft would be willing to keep on the PlayStation platform. However, one notable absence from the list was Overwatch 2, which sent alarm bells ringing at Sony. These revelations came to light during the ongoing FTC v. Microsoft trial.

In his video deposition, PlayStation chief Jim Ryan defended the importance of exclusives for PlayStation and expressed concerns about sharing information about the upcoming PlayStation 6 (PS6) with Microsoft. Ryan also criticized Xbox Game Pass as being “value destructive” to publishers.

During the trial, there were discussions about livestreaming witness testimony, with Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley warning against unauthorized streaming on platforms like YouTube. The trial has captured the attention of gamers, leading to a demand for better accessibility to the proceedings.

Jim Ryan provided insights into how Xbox games appeal more to the US market due to their shooting elements and online multiplayer features. Ryan also differentiated Nintendo's Switch from Xbox and PlayStation, stating that it targets a younger audience with less sophisticated hardware.

The FTC and Microsoft also sparred over the impact of third-party exclusives on PlayStation, with Ryan defending the benefits of streamlined development for game studios. He acknowledged that prior to Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda, almost every Bethesda game was available on multiple platforms, including PlayStation.

Sony's reluctance to share development kits and console information with Microsoft was addressed by Ryan, who explained that allowing a direct competitor access to such information was too risky. Sony made the decision to delay supplying PS5 dev kits to Microsoft for games like Minecraft.

An email from Jim Ryan revealed that he initially had no concerns about Call of Duty exclusivity under Microsoft, but his attitude changed in August 2022 after receiving the list of games from Phil Spencer. Ryan described the list as lacking significance and not including newer titles like Overwatch 2.

These developments shed light on the concerns and negotiations between Sony and Microsoft regarding Activision Blizzard's content and future collaborations between the two gaming giants.

– Tom Warren, The Verge (Tom Warren, senior editor covering Microsoft, PC gaming, console, and tech), URL
– FTC v. Microsoft trial proceedings, URL (if available)