Sony says it would not share PS6 details with Microsoft-owned Activision

PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said that if Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition were approved by regulators, Sony would no longer be able to share details about its upcoming console hardware with Call of Duty maker Activision.

Speaking to the US Federal Trade Commission, which is currently looking into a court case to block the deal, Ryan said Sony “simply can’t take the risk that a company owned by a direct competitor would have access to this information “.

Ryan’s comments date back to April this year, when the FTC questioned PlayStation’s CEO about statements submitted by Sony to set out his perspective on the deal. Chief among these is Sony’s concern that its game development processes would be disrupted as the company “can no longer reveal confidential details about its next console in development”.

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Follow-up questions ask Ryan about the implications of sharing information – and what might change if Sony stopped working closely with Activision on games like Call of Duty.

Ryan’s response to the potential harm to Sony if Microsoft knows PS6 details has been mostly redacted from the public version of the court documentation.

From what’s publicly available, we can see that Ryan suspects Microsoft would have less incentive to develop PlayStation-specific features for Activision games after the buyout.

“I believe that [Microsoft]”Microsoft’s incentives — their main incentive post-acquisition will be to streamline the entire Xbox business, not Activision’s business,” Ryan said.

Another largely redacted section addresses Microsoft’s earlier acquisition of Minecraft maker Mojang and apparent concerns on the part of Sony over the level of access it gave its rival to knowledge of PlayStation console development.

Finally, Ryan is asked to describe the level of sensitivity regarding information on features in development for PlayStation consoles. “Extremely sensitive,” is his reply.

Of course, while the PS6 is likely several years away, Activision needs early details on what to expect from the upcoming hardware in order to prepare games in time for the console’s release. It’s easy to see that Sony wants the latest Call of Duty for PS6 right away to show what the new hardware is capable of. And in the months – if not years – before release, Sony – like any hardware manufacturer – will release software development kits with near-final console specs to allow game makers to prepare.

Axios’ Stephen Totilo, who released the court transcript this week, stressed that there is no indication that Ryan would be questioned when the opposite situation already exists: for example, when Microsoft teams up with Sony-owned studios like Destiny Developers Bungie and Major League Baseball maker Sony San Diego need to grapple with for Xbox versions of these games.

Last week, the FTC temporarily blocked Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard — a move Microsoft welcomed, saying it will now likely tighten the US’s final decision on whether to go through with the deal.

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