Update: Well, we don’t have to wonder any more! Tom Warren of The Verge has shared some of the emails in question, showing parts of exchanges between Phil Spencer and Jim Ryan from mid-2022.
The email from Ryan (dated May 26, 2022) is extensive, suggesting in his counterproposal that all Activision games should be made available on PlayStation as part of a “long” commitment, as well the fact that they should not be subject to “unequal treatment of subscription services”. He then also mentioned “equal treatment of Bethesda games”, advising that it was a “logical topic for the parties to discuss” as part of a separate agreement.
In response, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said in August 2022:
“Thank you for your response. As I told you in my emails and in our calls, Sony is an important distributor of Activision’s content, and we want to find a way to maintain that relationship once we close the acquisition of Activision.
I continue to stand behind the written agreement I sent you on January 31, 2022 with my signature reminding us of our commitment to Sony. The agreement will keep all existing Activision console titles with Sony, including future versions in the Call of Duty franchise or any other existing Activision franchise with Sony, until December 31, 2027. This includes content and feature parity, as well as clarifying that we will not feature any time-exclusive releases of such content on Xbox consoles.
It is difficult to reconcile the principles set out in your email of May 26, 2022 with Sony’s leading role in the market. As I’ve said before, we believe that keeping these titles at Sony, like we did with Minecraft, is the right thing for the industry and for players.”
You can check out these emails for yourself in the tweets below:
Original story: We’ve been hearing for a while now that Sony is heavily opposed to Microsoft’s attempted takeover of Activision Blizzard, but according to an old email from January 2022, that doesn’t seem to have been the original case.
In that email, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said he thinks the brand will be “more than OK” after the acquisition goes through, and he doesn’t think Xbox and Activision will. Call of Duty exclusively.
So, what happened? Ryan explained as part of an FTC hearing this week that it was an email from Xbox boss Phil Spencer in August of 2022 that allegedly “set off alarm bells” within Sony.
There’s no word on what was included in this email, but we do know that Phil Spencer originally contacted Jim Ryan in May 2022 with a list of games that Xbox would keep on PlayStation, which promoted to Sony to issue a counterproposal. Spencer then responded in August with the email that set off Sony’s alarm.
Maybe we’ll find out what was in that email at some point, but for now, we’ll have to play the guessing game. In any case, Sony remains very much against the idea of acquisition – as Jim Ryan confirmed this week.
“We believe that Microsoft intends to use Call of Duty to harm PlayStation in terms of availability or the way in which the game is made available on PlayStation consoles, and to drive PlayStation players to Xbox platforms, specifically Game Pass.”
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