Sony is forced to reveal secret bargains

Onur Demirkol
Mar 3, 2023
Updated • Mar 3, 2023

Latest reports sign that PlayStation might be forced to reveal how much money it pays to keep games off some rival services, including Xbox Game Pass.

A couple of months back, the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit against Microsoft's acquisition of Activision, which is worth $68.7 billion. FTC is concerned that the "maker of Xbox would gain control of top video game franchises, enabling it to harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services by denying or degrading rivals’ access to its popular content." FTC is trying to block the acquisition, and Microsoft is doing everything possible to make it happen.

Microsoft is looking for different ways to win the case. Lastly, it issued a subpoena to Sony Interactive Entertainment to help its preparations for facing the Federal Trade Commission in court. The logic behind that is to show the court that the acquisition wouldn't harm competition and that other companies like Sony can adapt and compete. Both parties were in negotiations to find a middle way. Microsoft asked for some documents and emails from certain Sony executives, but it didn't get all the information it requested. Sony's reply to this matter was "obvious harassment." Sony said it hadn't given all the information Microsoft wanted because they were being asked for "way too much."

The FTC has largely rejected Sony's bid to have quashed a subpoena related to Microsoft's proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition. First of all, the FTC chief administrative law judge D. Michael Chappell has let Microsoft access the documents of a few Sony employees, including SVO of finance Lin Tao, SVP of platform experience Hideaki Nishino, and in-house antitrust lawyer Greg McCurdy. Relevant files of these employees will be searched. The decision also allows Microsoft to request McCurdy's external communications over an eight-month period.  Obviously, Sony didn't want "this much" file to be released, but the court has made its call.

On the other hand, The Verge added Judge Chappel's summary, "Microsoft argues that the Complaint in this case makes a number of allegations regarding high-performance video game console developers’ exclusivity arrangements with video game publishers. Microsoft states that it is aware that SIE requires many third-party publishers to agree to exclusivity provisions, including preventing the publishers from putting their games on Xbox’s multi-game subscription service, and that understanding the full extent of SIE’s exclusivity arrangements and their effect on industry competitiveness will assist in its defense."

This means that now Microsoft can look for how much Sony has been paying some games publishers to keep their games off of Xbox Game Pass. However, Microsoft is only granted the files made after January 1, 2019. none of the files before the date will be accessible. Microsoft wanted to get the details dating back to 2012, but Judge Chappell denied the "excessive" request and granted Sony's request to limit the timeframe to 2019 and after.


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  1. Howard Pearce said on March 3, 2023 at 2:55 pm

    “A couple of months back, the Federal Trade Commission—”

    That’s specifically used by the state for regulating (free) trade, right ?

    Naturally anything the state does is for our benefit, right ?

    1. John B said on March 3, 2023 at 7:31 pm

      Act of 1871 the government converted itself in to a business however since a business can legitimately create profit and a government can it immediately made itself a criminal organization. Whenever you see UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, STATE OF, CITY OF, etc, that is (by their practices) a corporation however since all instances are * portrayed * as government that in and of itself makes it criminal. Additionally the actions of these criminal groups are anything but government related. People have the wrong mindset that simply * appearing official * does not make it official. The United States of America has been an anarchist state since 1871.

      We do not have a capitalist society, we have an anti-capitalist crony society where checks and balances of capitalism are replaced by who-has-the-most-money.

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