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During a deposition in April (via Axios), SIE boss Jim Ryan told the US Federal Trade Commission that the company’s past collaboration with Activision led to the development of better features on PlayStation consoles that helped the hardware stand out from the competition.
But were Activision to be purchased by Microsoft, that partnership would be lost, according to Ryan.
“We simply could not run the risk of a company that was owned by a direct competitor having access to that information,” he told the regulator.
As an independent company, Ryan said Activision is incentivised to “make great games on all platforms”, but that post acquisition, it would be more concerned with improving the Xbox business than in taking advantage of unique PS5 features or helping Sony develop better consoles.
In a heavily redacted section of Ryan’s discussion with the FTC, the executive suggested that Sony’s experience of working with Minecraft maker Mojang after Microsoft acquired the studio gave the company cause for concern about doing likewise with Activision.
Sony has previously suggested that Microsoft could release degraded versions of Call of Duty games for PlayStation consoles should it acquire Activision – claims the Xbox maker has rejected.
Microsoft and the FTC are due to face off in court later today. The regulator is seeking a preliminary injunction to block Microsoft from completing the acquisition before its internal administrative law judge can review the deal in a separate legal challenge in August.
For its part, Microsoft wants to try and push the deal through before the current merger agreement expires on July 18, after which Activision Blizzard could walk away with a $3 billion termination fee.
Witnesses set to give evidence at the court hearing this week and next include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Xbox boss Phil Spencer, PlayStation chief Ryan, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, and Bethesda publishing boss Pete Hines.