Sony Says It Can’t Share Early PlayStation 6 Details With Activision Blizzard if Microsoft Deal Goes Through

“We simply could not run the risk of a company that was owned by a direct competitor having access to that information,” Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan says

PlayStation's Nathan Drake vs Xbox's Master Chief
PlayStation's Nathan Drake vs Xbox's Master Chief (Christopher Smith/TheWrap)

In a recently revealed deposition transcript for the FTC vs Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King case, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s CEO Jim Ryan explained why the company wouldn’t be able to share key info about its upcoming PlayStation console with Activision Blizzard were Activision Blizzard to be bought by Microsoft (via Stephen Totilo).

“We simply could not run the risk of a company that was owned by a direct competitor having access to that information,” Ryan said, alluding to the possibility that if Sony shared info with Activision Blizzard to help it craft console-exclusive features for hypothetical PlayStation 6 launch titles, Activision Blizzard’s (would-be) parent company, Microsoft, would examine the details of the still-in-development PlayStation 6 and have unfair knowledge of what its rival was cooking up. This knowledge would possibly enable Microsoft to integrate its competitor’s console’s benefits into its own next-generation hardware.

Ryan also said he believed Activision Blizzard under Microsoft would not be incentivized to take advantage of unique PlayStation features, as Activision Blizzard would be focused first and foremost on making its game experiences great on Microsoft’s systems (Xbox and PC).

Ryan’s statement circles back to Sony’s previously stated fears that Microsoft owning Activision Blizzard would lead to the latter’s games being lesser experiences on PlayStation systems. Microsoft refuted these fears, but based on this deposition, if Sony is unwilling to share console details in advance, it may be concocting a situation wherein Microsoft legitimately cannot deliver on its commitment to not hamper the PlayStation experience.

“As an independent company, Activision Blizzard is incentivized to make great games on all platforms,” said Ryan, when asked what Activision Blizzard’s primary incentive is right now. In contrast, he stated that he believed post-acquisition, Activision Blizzard’s primary incentive would be to optimize games for Microsoft’s Xbox business.

Chunks of the deposition are redacted, and what’s not explained is how Microsoft and Sony plan on interacting when the roles are reversed. For example, Sony owns Bungie, the company behind “Destiny 2.” Sony also produces “MLB: The Show.” These games appear on Xbox, making it unclear what kind of info Sony expects Microsoft to share about its future console endeavors.

“Today showed Sony has known all along we’ll stand by our promise to keep games on its platform and made clear its work to lobby against the deal is only to protect its dominant position in the market,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in response to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Representatives for Sony did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.