Sony is having a rough time in the ongoing Microsoft Activision Blizzard acquisition case. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has now ordered Sony to reveal all of its third-party exclusivity deals on PlayStation. Microsoft subpoenaed Sony into revealing a number of documents that could be relevant to the case, including the personnel files of PlayStation executives as well as the details of all its third-party exclusive deals.
In response, Sony filed a motion to limit the subpoena, accusing Microsoft of “obvious harassment.” This didn’t work out too well for Sony as the FTC’s judge disagreed and stated that these files are relevant to Microsoft’s allegations of exclusivity agreements at Sony that weren’t made clear to the public. For example, Sony initially didn’t mention how long Final Fantasy VII Remake would be an exclusive to PlayStation for. Sony must now seemingly be upfront about its exclusivity deals with third-party publishers.
“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,” said the FTC in a new ruling.
The FTC did take Sony’s side on a couple of those requests, though. While Sony will still have to present documents and details about its third-party exclusivity agreements, it will only have to present documents starting from 1 January 2019 onwards. Microsoft originally asked for documents to be presented that dated back to 1 January 2012. Sony won’t have to present personnel files either as the FTC granted the company permission to withhold employee performance reviews and evaluations.
With this information coming to light, it’s possible that we’ll see Sony be a lot more transparent with its third-party exclusivity deals going forward. The company did outline Final Fantasy XVI‘s six-month exclusivity period in a previous marketing trailer, but we imagine there’s a lot more to sift through and bring forward in this ongoing case.