An internal Microsoft e-mail from Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty encouraging Microsoft CFO Tim Stuart to “invest Sony out of organisation” has been made public as part of the ongoing trial between the FTC and Microsoft. Microsoft’s aggressive acquisition plans, which practically led to the company acquiring Sega, Niantic, and Bungie, are described in an email delivered to employees in December 2019.
The Verge was the first to publish an email from Booty in which he brazenly declares, “We (Microsoft) remain in an exceptionally special position to go invest Sony out of service. Those of us who place a high value on video game content may look back on the year 2020 and think, “It would have been totally worth it to lose $2B or $3B in order to prevent a situation in which Tencent, Google, Amazon, and even Sony have become the Disney of video games and own the majority of the important content.”
Booty went on to say that Disney’s competing holdings make it “almost difficult” for a company to launch a new streaming service, before comparing the future of video streaming services to that of the video game industry.
“Google is still three to four years away from being able to launch a games studio. Amazon has shown little capacity to deliver on gaming content. The only competitive advantage we have in terms of a brochure that can be used with today’s devices and our capacity to create new is the quality of our materials. We have a two-year head start and ten million more subscribers than Sony, the only other gaming company that could challenge Game Pass.
Sony and Microsoft have both expanded their libraries through major studio purchases in the years since the email was delivered. Sony acquired Housemarque, the studio behind Returnal, and Bluepoint Games, the studio behind the remake, in 2021, and Bungie, the studio behind Destiny, in 2022. ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, Arkane, and Tango Gameworks, has been acquired by Microsoft during the past few years, and Microsoft has begun the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, the company at the centre of the ongoing trial against the FTC.
Along with Booty’s e-mail, the trial has revealed several other pieces of information about Microsoft’s service and methods, such as Xbox describing Starfield was prepared for PS5 prior to Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax and Microsoft declaring that they have “lost the console war.”
After the article was published, a Microsoft spokesperson contacted GameSpot and said, “This e-mail is 3 and a half years old and precedes the statement of our acquisition by 25 months.” It explains market trends we never targeted, and it has nothing to do with the purchase.