A new court document in its ongoing battle with the FTC reveals how Microsoft believed it could use Xbox Game Pass and console sales to help offset the losses it would incur from making Starfield and Indiana Jones console exclusives.
In a new document focused on the FTC’s final findings of fact, the FTC cites Microsoft Gaming Chief Financial Officer Tim Stuart’s testimony, stating that Microsoft had forecasted “more than 10 million” sales on PlayStation “for both Starfield and Indiana Jones,” before it decided to make both games exclusive to Xbox.
Microsoft announced its plans to acquire ZeniMax back in 2020, and outside of honoring the timed-exclusivity deals PlayStation previously inked with ZeniMax for timed console exclusivity for Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, projects coming from developers under the ZeniMax umbrella have been announced as a console exclusive for Xbox consoles, including the previously mentioned Starfield and Indiana Jones.
Xbox’s varied exclusives strategy
Prior to the testimony and FTC’s findings of fact document, we learned in an interview with IGN France that Arkane Studios was working on a PS5 version of Redfall before Microsoft acquired ZeniMax. Arkane Studios’ Harvey Smith noted in the interview that the developer was then instructed to focus on “Game Pass, Xbox, and PC.”
While the FTC argues that making these games would be anti-competitive, during the trial, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan admitted that in the case of Starfield (and Redfall) that both these games being exclusive to Xbox was not “anti-competitive.”
In the meantime, Xbox has vowed to keep Call of Duty on as many platforms as possible, which was backed by nearly one million documents submitted to the court case.
Earlier this week, the FTC lost its case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, where the regulator was unsuccessful in obtaining a preliminary injunction against Microsoft as the tech giant attempts to close its acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. The FTC announced yesterday that it will be appealing the decision.
Taylor is a Reporter at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.