What went wrong between Sony, Microsoft, and Activision?

Sony Turned Against Microsoft-Activision Deal After an ‘Alarming’ Email From Phil Spencer

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has confirmed that the company wasn’t initially concerned about the Microsoft-Activision deal, but an email from Xbox CEO Phil Spencer dated August 2022 “really set alarm bells ringing” within Sony. And it all went downhill from there.

Why did Sony turn against the Microsoft-Activision deal?

On day 1 of the legal battle between the FTC and Microsoft/Activision, the latter produced a bombshell email from Ryan in which he wrote that although the merger isn’t great news for Sony, the PlayStation business will be more than okay. In his video deposition played on day 3 of the court proceedings yesterday, Ryan confirmed that it wasn’t until August 2022 that Sony became concerned about the deal.

Unfortunately, Spencer’s email was completely redacted, meaning that it was entered as evidence, and only Judge Jacqueline Corley and lawyers are aware of its contents. What we did get to hear, though, was that Sony isn’t against Starfield’s Xbox exclusivity and doesn’t see it as anti-competitive. Furthermore, Ryan alleges that Spencer sent over a list of games that would be supported on PlayStation platforms, and the list only contained older Activision games. As an example, Ryan said that the list included Overwatch but not Overwatch 2.

Ryan went on to confirm that following Spencer’s mystery email, he told Activision CEO Bobby Kotick that he thinks the deal is anti-competitive and he hopes regulators block it.