Sony ordered to reveal exclusivity contracts to Microsoft

The feud between the giants of the gaming industry, Microsoft and Sony, continues as the latter has been ordered to reveal documents regarding licensing agreements between Sony and third-party publishers. 

Microsoft had issued a subpoena to Sony, asking for a copy of every content licensing agreement between PlayStation and any third-party publisher.

The request was made to prepare for FTC’s lawsuit against Microsoft, regarding the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The Japanese company objected, giving various reasons. 

It claimed that Microsoft’s request for documents related to Jim Ryan and other company leadership members was unnecessary and an “unjustified invasion of employee privacy.”

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While Microsoft argued that the information was needed to understand “the metrics used to evaluate SIE’s executives and business.” FTC granted it to the Japanese giants nonetheless, saying that it was unrelated to the acquisition. 

Microsoft asked for every content licensing agreement between third-party publishers and PlayStation from January 1, 2012, onwards, claiming that since FTC is concerned about the effects of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it is essential to bring Sony’s deals regarding exclusivity to light.

The PlayStation’s parent company argued that this was irrelevant and added that searching through 150,000 contracts with 60,000 companies would be difficult especially because its systems don’t allow it to search by company type, only by company name. FTC denied Sony’s request, however, it did limit Microsoft’s access to the documents. Sony now only has to reveal the contracts signed from January 1, 2019. 

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