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Sony Accidentally Reveals Major PlayStation Game Budgets

Sony Accidentally Reveals Major PlayStation Game Budgets


The Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into Microsoft’s prospective bid to purchase Activision Blizzard has hit a major roadblock. Strangely enough, it was technically neither the FTC nor Microsoft’s fault. Rather, the spotlight is now being shone on Sony, which filed paperwork in conjunction with the investigation that accidentally revealed highly classified information. The company, which operates video gaming juggernaut PlayStation, allegedly used a marker to manually redact information regarding revenue streams and budgeting.

Unfortunately, when it was uploaded to the public domain as a standard procedure, eagle-eyed readers were able to view these numbers with just a bit of effort. While the document has since been taken down, much of the information has already been published online. Some of this info includes the budgets for two of Sony’s biggest exclusives, “Horizon Forbidden West” and “The Last of Us Part II.” 

Just how big were these budgets? Try around $212 million for “Horizon Forbidden West” and around $220 million for “The Last of Us Part II.” Given how secretive the gaming industry often is, this is a major revelation. This is especially true since it was accidentally revealed by Sony itself due to a seemingly innocuous mistake.

Why the paperwork was filed

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It might sound a bit weird that Microsoft’s competition is the reason for this big delay and gear shift. However, it wasn’t filed for no reason. Sony had submitted the paperwork to prove to the FTC that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard would affect it financially. This is specifically due to the popularity of Activision’s “Call of Duty” franchise among PlayStation users. The argument was that Sony and PlayStation would be significantly hit with revenue decreases due to “Call of Duty” becoming an eventual Xbox exclusive.

According to the hastily-redacted paperwork, as analyzed by The Verge, “Call of Duty” games were worth around $800 million for PlayStation in the United States in 2021. While the global number cannot be entirely verified, a close look at the paperwork reveals that it could be worth over $1.5 billion worldwide for PlayStation. To make things even more staggering, the document seems to reveal the value of the franchise itself (for Sony) was $13.9 billion or more.

We know that only one more “Call of Duty” game is currently slated to be cross-released between PlayStation and Xbox, likely adding to the one million players Sony claims only play the franchise’s releases. It is unclear what will happen with the hearing moving forward since the paperwork and related exhibits were removed upon the discovery.

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