Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney / Jim Ryan
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We hope you're not bored of this yet, but it's time once again to talk about Microsoft's industry-shaking attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard. The deal, worth a ridiculous $69 billion, would see the company absorb ActiBlizz and all its intellectual property. The convergence of two such large publishers has caused concerns about antitrust, with Microsoft taking control of a vast number of hugely popular franchises — Call of Duty being the biggest among them.

Recently, North America's Federal Trade Commission made clear its reservations about the deal, summoning Microsoft to court in order to hear why the deal should be allowed and why it won't damage the competition. Sony, which has been squarely against the acquisition from the start, was issued a subpoena by Microsoft, requesting its presence at the hearing and certain documentation and information that may be pertinent to its case.

Now, it's come out that Sony made several appeals to restrict what information it would need to submit to court. Some of these requests were granted by the FTC, but most were denied. In a nutshell, Sony must submit:

  • Details of all content licensing agreements (broadly exclusivity contracts) from January 2019 onwards
  • Jim Ryan's declaration about the acquisition to the FTC, including all drafts
  • Custodial records from January 2019 onwards

Obviously, Sony has had many agreements with third parties in which some or all content in a game is exclusive to PlayStation. Initially, Microsoft's request was for contracts dating back to 2012; Sony tried to withhold this information altogether, suggesting it wouldn't be relevant to the case and that it'd require digging through more than 150,000 contracts with over 60,000 companies. While the time scale has been reduced, it'll still be a heck of a lot of paperwork.

The court hearing is due to take place beginning 2nd August 2023, so there's still a long way to go before all this is over. As highlighted by, the European Commission and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority both have to submit their decision on whether or not they approve of the acquisition by the end of April. The aforementioned site has a more detailed report if you're interested in learning more.