playstation exclusivity deals microsoft activision ftc

Sony Must Reveal PlayStation Exclusivity Deals in Microsoft Activision Case, FTC Rules

Sony has suffered its first defeat in the ongoing Microsoft Activision case as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ruled that it must reveal its third-party PlayStation exclusivity deals.

FTC says PlayStation exclusivity deals are relevant to Microsoft Activision lawsuit

To fight off the FTC lawsuit over its impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft subpoenaed Sony demanding a laundry list of documents that it felt was relevant to the case. This included personnel files of PlayStation executives and third-party exclusivity deals.

In response, Sony filed a motion to quash or limit the subpoena, accusing Microsoft of “obvious harassment.” Unfortunately for Sony, FTC’s judge mostly disagrees.

“The nature and extent of SIE’s content-licensing agreements are relevant to the Complaint’s allegations of exclusivity arrangements between video game console developers and video game developers and publishers,” FTC ruled.

In response to Sony’s argument that going through decades worth of files and business records is an unnecessary burden, the FTC reduced the date range of documents required. Microsoft had requested records from January 1, 2012 onwards. FTC has limited this to January 1, 2019 onwards.

What the FTC did grant Sony, however, was its request to withhold employee performance reviews and evaluations. Microsoft claimed that such personnel data might “candidly” discuss the information it requires. FTC disagreed.