PlayStation must reveal third-party exclusivity deals, FTC orders

By Sean Carey,

As part of Microsoft's ongoing battle to acquire Activision Blizzard, the US Federal Trade Commission has ordered Sony to share details of third-party PlayStation exclusivity deals from the past four years.

In January, Microsoft subpoenaed Sony for documents it could use to help build a defence against the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) upcoming lawsuit over the Activision Blizzard acquisition. The subpoena made numerous requests for documents from Sony and asked for things like copies of third-party exclusivity agreements from January 1st, 2012, onwards and for access to PlayStation boss Jim Ryan's declaration to the FTC about the acquisition. Sony argued against many requests on the subpoena, but a newly filed order (thanks, VGC) reveals that some of Sony's arguments have been rejected.

Sony will have to hand over documents relating to PlayStation exclusivity deals to Microsoft

PlayStation must reveal third-party exclusivity deals, FTC demands

Microsoft asked Sony to produce a copy of "every content licensing agreement [it had] entered into with any third-party publisher between January 1st, 2012 and present." Sony argued against this, saying that "such information has no apparent probative value" and that a review of "over 150,000 contract records with roughly 60,000 companies across various databases" would be "unduly burdensome." The FTC's administrative law judge has sided with Microsoft, in part, and has rejected Sony's attempt to quash this request.

However, the FTC did grant Sony a request to limit the date range of documents being requested, so instead of providing documents from 2012, Sony will only have to provide items from January 1st, 2019 to the present.

Exclusivity surrounding Activision Blizzard games (namely, Call of Duty) has been a major sticking point for regulators across the world and Sony. Microsoft has attempted to appease companies and regulators by committing Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles for ten years and Xbox PC games to Nvidia's GeForce Now. More recently, Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft would put an end to platform-exclusive DLC with Call of Duty if the deal was to go through.

If the FTC does go to trial with Microsoft over the acquisition, it is expected to take place in August 2023.
Sean Carey
Written by Sean Carey
Sean graduated from Southampton Solent University with a first-class honours degree in Journalism, which he uses to keep TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies topped up with gaming and industry news. When not scouring the web for the latest big story, you’ll find him tearing up the streets in Forza Horizon 5 or picking up wins in Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0.
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