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29 Jun, 2023
2 min time to read

In an unexpected turn of events, Sony's confidential information regarding its PlayStation business was accidentally disclosed.

As part of the FTC v. Microsoft hearing, a document provided by PlayStation chief Jim Ryan included redacted details about revenue sharing with publishers, Call of Duty earnings, and game development costs.

However, the redacted portions were easily visible when the document was scanned, allowing reporters and competitors to download confidential information while the document was in the public domain.

The document reveals that Horizon Forbidden West cost $212 million over five years with a team of 300 employees. Similarly, The Last of Us Part II cost $220 million and involved about 200 employees in the process. These figures shed light on the significant investments Sony has made in its flagship games.

Moreover, the document highlighted the enormous popularity of the Call of Duty franchise among PlayStation gamers. It stated that in 2021, over 14 million users spent 30% or more of their time playing Call of Duty, while 6 million users dedicated more than 70% of their gaming time to the franchise.

About 1 million users played Call of Duty only. The document also revealed that Call of Duty players spent an average of 116 hours per year on the game, with those spending over 70% of their time on it averaging 296 hours annually.

Sony intended to use this information to emphasize the potential negative impact on its revenues if Call of Duty became an Xbox exclusive. The company has expressed concerns that Microsoft might secure exclusive rights to the game or hinder the PlayStation versions.

Furthermore, the document hinted at Sony's revenue sharing with third-party publishers like Activision, with the "typical margin" appearing to be around 10%.

Interestingly, this editing mishap followed a similar incident with Microsoft, when a confidential document revealed the purpose of the Xbox acquisition. The document was then replaced with a heavily redacted version.