Leaked documents reveal Sony is concerned about the “incredible strategic value” Activision’s acquisition will provide to Microsoft.
Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard had to go through a nearly two-year long approval period before it was officially finalized in October, and throughout the process, Sony made it abundantly clear that it did not want the deal to go through. It’s no surprise, then, that newly leaked internal Sony documents have revealed (via Reddit) the extent of the company’s concern over the acquisition.
The documents, which come from the recent large-scale ransomware hack that hit first party PlayStation studio Insomniac Games, include slides from an internal presentation where Sony expresses its concern that with its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft will be able to “leapfrog” PlayStation, thanks to the “incredible strategic value” the acquired company will provide “across live service games, scale in mobile, and PC storefront”.
In the slides, Sony unsurprisingly pays particular attention to Game Pass and Call of Duty, and mentions the threat of the franchise going exclusive to Xbox in 2027. It’s likely that the slides are outdated and are referring to the deal that Microsoft initially offered to keep releasing future Call of Duty games in PlayStation, which would have run out in 2027. Though the deal was rejected, Sony and Microsoft eventually signed a 10-year agreement.
Nonetheless, in the leaked slides, Sony expresses concern over a shift from PlayStation to Xbox for the Call of Duty audience “with timing and in-game differentials as the weapons” that could be used by Microsoft, while also touching on Microsoft’s “comprehensive” Game Pass subscription ecosystem, which, combined with exclusive content, could provide a “massive threat” to PlayStation Plus.
The fact that Microsoft will begin releasing Activision Blizzard games day and date on Game Pass is also brought up, as is the company’s ongoing effort to create an Xbox Store for mobile devices that will supposedly rival Apple and Google’s mobile storefronts. Sony states that its own pillars in these areas are “already dated and behind the competition”, with the company instead intending to continue focusing on its premium software model as its “central approach”.
The recent Insomniac ransomware leak has revealed extensive several other confidential details, including unannounced titles planned for the next several years. That includes the likes of multiple X-Men games (including the announced Marvel’s Wolverine), new Spider-Man titles (including a Venom spinoff), a new Ratchet and Clank game, and a new IP.