Microsoft's Xbox plans revealed in emails tied to FTC case

Ina Fassbender

A huge collection of purported Xbox files related to the Federal Trade Commission’s case against Microsoft have been published online, spilling some of the company's plans for the gaming console into public view.

The files were uploaded Friday to a website hosted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, where the FTC is suing to block Microsoft's acquisition of the video game company Activision Blizzard. The court website stopped sharing the files sometime Tuesday morning.

They include more than 100 documents, many of them partially redacted, related to Microsoft's Xbox plans.

Douglas Farrar, director of the FTC's office of public affairs, told NBC News that "Microsoft was responsible for the error in uploading these documents to the court."

Microsoft didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In an order filed Tuesday, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley made it clear the files weren't meant to be made public. Microsoft had provided a link to exhibits for the case Thursday, she wrote, and the court uploaded those files, but the parties in the case have since told the court those uploads contained nonpublic information.

Corley instructed both parties to resubmit the exhibits through a “secure cloud link” by Friday.

The files include emails from corporate executives like Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and timetables for gaming releases.

Some of the documents include Microsoft Gaming senior employees discussing the value of the exclusive hold they have on key video game titles.

Spencer said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that it was "hard to see our team’s work shared in this way because so much has changed and there’s so much to be excited about right now, and in the future."

One document shows a list of projections for some major game titles with release dates and the platforms on which they are planned to be made available. That list estimates that the highly anticipated game "The Elder Scrolls VI" won’t be released until 2026 or later and will not be available for PlayStation, which is owned by Sony.

Neither Sony nor Elder Scrolls developer Bethesda immediately responded to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for the Northern District didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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