The ongoing legal battle between the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Microsoft over the latter’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has taken a new turn.
As reported by Kotaku, the FTC is seeking details from Sony about its PlayStation exclusivity deals, including the amount it pays for “blocking rights” to keep games off rival services like Xbox Game Pass.
This comes after Microsoft’s request to the FTC regarding PlayStation detailing its exclusivity deals. The request covers all deals made by PlayStation after January 1st, 2019, including any fees or agreements that prevented publishers from launching their games on Xbox Game Pass.
The judge in the case has sided with Microsoft’s request, stating that understanding the full extent of Sony’s exclusivity deals and their effect on industry competitiveness will assist in Microsoft’s defence regarding its Activision acquisition.
FTC’s chief administrative judge D. Michael Chappell said:
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.
The last time we saw an exclusivity deal like this made public was back in 2021 during the Epic Games vs. Apple saga.
Microsoft’s initial request was to get details on Sony’s exclusivity deals dating back to 2012, but the timeline was deemed “excessive” by the judge, and agreed to seek details from Sony about its PlayStation exclusivity deals made post-2019. The evidentiary hearing for the case is scheduled for August 2nd, and it could be months before any potential new details are revealed.
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Source: Game Developer Via: Kotaku