The private email shows the PlayStation boss isn’t worried about the Xbox exclusive Call of Duty


Artist's conception of Playstation President Jim Ryan when he emailed about the proposed Microsoft/Activision deal.
Zoom in / Artist’s conception of Playstation President Jim Ryan when he emailed about the proposed Microsoft/Activision deal.

Publicly, Sony has been adamant that Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision would give Microsoft too much power over PlayStation’s access to major multi-console franchises such as Call of duty. Privately, though, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan seemed less concerned, according to a voluminous email Microsoft provided Thursday during opening statements at a court hearing on the FTC’s attempts to block an Activision buyout.

“It’s not an exclusive play at all,” Ryan said in a January 2022 email, as read by Microsoft attorney Beth Wilkinson. “They think bigger than that and they have the money to make moves like this.”

“I spent a lot of time with both of them [Microsoft gaming head Phil Spencer] and Bobby [Kotick] Over the past day,” Ryan continued in the email. I’m sure we’ll continue to see CoD on PlayStation for many years to come. I’m not satisfied and I’d rather it didn’t happen but we’ll be fine, more than OK.”

Microsoft amplified the disclosure in court in a statement provided to Ars Technica: “Today showed that Sony had known all along that we would stick to our promise to keep games on its platform and made clear that its action to lobby against the deal is solely to protect its dominant market position.”

Brian’s earlier email stands in stark contrast to Sony’s public statements regarding the proposed acquisition. As recently as April this year, Sony was telling the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority that it feared Microsoft was undermining PlayStation by offering a “degraded” version of Sony. Call of duty In terms of performance, price or even release date.

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Sony also previously invited Microsoft’s initial proposal for three years Call of duty Sharing deal “insufficient” last September. Sony also refused to sign a 10-year contract Call of duty The deal offered to other platform owners, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, said was an attempt to “sabotage” regulatory approval.

Less formally, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer promised in interviews the release Call of duty On PlayStation “as long as there is available PlayStation shipping”. Sony cited the example of Bethesda’s post-acquisition Xbox exclusives as a key reason it didn’t trust that kind of promise, and the FTC later cited the same pattern as “strong evidence” against agreeing to the deal.

New Xbox exclusives and pessimism streaming

Elsewhere in the opening statement, Microsoft confirmed that Bethesda is coming Indiana Jones The game, which was first announced in 2021, will already be an Xbox and PC exclusive. But in a fact-finding document submitted to the court, Microsoft said that “Xbox expects many future ZeniMax titles to ship on PlayStation and Nintendo.”

Despite years of development, Microsoft admits in court that cloud gaming still is
Zoom in / Despite years of development, Microsoft admits in court that cloud gaming is still a “small… special niche.”

Microsoft

The same fact-finding document also includes some surprisingly candid discussions from Microsoft regarding the technical shortcomings and market shortcomings of cloud gaming. Despite years of development, Microsoft notes that cloud gaming “makes up only a small portion of the billions of hours of gameplay each year and has never met consumer demand beyond its current domain.”

The document also highlights “latency issues” in cloud gaming, which can cause a “stuttering” effect.[s] or delay in playing. Because of issues like this, Microsoft reports that “the vast majority of Xbox Cloud Gaming users report relying on the service to try out new games in order to decide whether to download them locally to play, rather than stream regular plays.”

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Downplaying cloud gaming could be important to Microsoft’s legal arguments, especially after British regulators cited cloud gaming market competition as the main reason for blocking them from a proposed Activision purchase. Still, the pessimistic cloud outlook is surprising to see from Microsoft after years of excessive cloud gaming hype from some corners of the company.

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