Sony has a new argument to use against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and this one actually makes some amount of sense.

It’s now almost a year and a half since Microsoft first announced its intentions to buy Activision Blizzard and it’s still unclear whether they’re going to be allowed to do it or not.

UK monopoly investigators have already said no to it (but may be forced to change their mind), while New Zealand and Australia are also rumoured to be against the deal. There’s no ambiguity as to where the US stands though, with a new injunction hoping to finally bring an end to the issue – one way or the other.

A final decision still seems a long way off though, especially as Sony has a new argument: if the acquisition goes through it can no longer afford to tell Activision Blizzard anything about their new hardware plans, because they’d inevitability tell Microsoft.

On the face of it, that seems pretty reasonable, as console manufacturers fine tune the hardware of their consoles according to publisher requests and often, so it seems, in reaction to what their rivals have announced.

So while normally Sony might talk to Activision Blizzard about what they’d like to see from the PlayStation 6, and other new hardware, they could no longer do that. Especially as even just giving a hint as to when a new console could be released would be a huge advantage to Microsoft.

That’s the argument Sony boss Jim Ryan has made to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), where he said he, ‘could not run the risk of a company that was owned by a direct competitor having access to that information.’

The conversation took place in April but has only now been made public, although much of what Ryan said has been redacted.

It’s unclear whether he spoke about specific information relating to the PlayStation 6, but he also suggested that Microsoft would be disinclined to create PlayStation-specific features – such as making use of the PlayStation 5’s bespoke SSD or the touchpad on its controller – when it came to Activision games.

That’s also reasonable, although previously Sony has gone further and implied that Microsoft would purposefully sabotage the PlayStation versions of Call Of Duty and other games – which is rather less likely.

Although it’s hard to make out, Ryan also seems to imply that Microsoft has already learnt more than it should by releasing Minecraft on PlayStation formats, although no examples can be made out.

Sony’s concerns are valid but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of them being in the opposite position with Bungie, whose games will remain multiformat despite Sony having bought them. So theoretically they could learn Xbox secrets through them.

As for the PlayStation 6, it’s always been normal for console manufacturers to start work on new hardware as soon as the last one is finished.

There’s no suggestion that the PlayStation 6 will be announced or released any time soon though and indeed the stock shortages that affected the PlayStation 5’s launch means the successor probably wouldn’t be released until much nearer the end of decade.

In an FTC v MS/ABK deposition, PlayStation chief Jim Ryan said that, if deal closes, Sony couldn’t tell Activision about its next console

Is then asked about Sony working with Mojang (Minecraft) after MS bought them. Discussion is redacted but Ryan says it supports this concern

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