UPDATE 20/9/23: Following the release of Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s public statement on social media addressing recent leaks, The Verge has obtained a copy of a more substantial internal memo circulated among Microsoft employees:
“Today, several documents submitted in the court proceedings related to our proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard were unintentionally disclosed. I know this is disappointing, even if many of the documents are well over a year old and our plans have evolved.
“I also know we all take the confidentiality of our plans and our partners’ information very seriously. This leak obviously is not us living up to that expectation. We will learn from what happened and be better going forward. We all put incredible amounts of passion and energy into our work, and this is never how we want that hard work to be shared with the community. That said, there’s so much more to be excited about, and when we’re ready, we’ll share the real plans with our players.
“In closing, I appreciate all of the work that you pour into Team Xbox to surprise and delight our players. In the days and weeks ahead, let’s stay focused on what we can control: continuing the amazing success of Starfield, the upcoming launch of the incredible and accessible Forza Motorsport, and continuing to build games, services and devices that millions of players can enjoy.”
ORIGINAL STORY 19/9/23: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has addressed today’s mega-leak, calling the confidential Microsoft documents inadvertently made public as part of the company’s court battle with the FTC “old” and saying Xbox will “share [its] real plans when we are ready”.
Confidential internal documents containing a treasure trove of information relating to Xbox – including Microsoft’s plans for a digital-only Xbox Series X/S refresh and new controller, first details of a brand-new Xbox in 2028, and a Bethesda release roadmap discussing the likes of a Dishonoured 3 and Ghostwire: Tokyo seque – were discovered online overnight, inadvertently included in a US court’s public depository of files pertaining to Microsoft’s legal tussle with the FTC over its proposed $69bn Activision Blizzard acquisition.
As more of the material was examined throughout the course of today, further revelations – such as Phil Spencer’s excitement over a potential Nintendo acquisition – were unearthed. However, Microsoft has remained quiet on the wide-ranging leak, despite requests for comment.
Now, though, Xbox head Phil Spencer has acknowledged the day’s events in a statement posted to social media. “We’ve seen the conversation around old emails and documents,” he wrote. “It is 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.” Spencer added that Microsoft would “share the real plans when we are ready.”
Time will tell just how outdated and inaccurate the information in Microsoft’s leaked documents is – the first test will likely be next year, when the company’s digital-only Xbox Series X refresh (codenamed “Ellewood”) will supposedly arrive.
So far, Spencer’s brief statement is the only official comment from Microsoft addressing today’s events. The FTC, however, has been considerably more talkative, repeatedly insisting it was not responsible for today’s leaks in a bid to quash any internet conspiracy theories. That position has now been supported by a US judge, who confirmed the accidental release of Microsoft’s confidential information was entirely the company’s own doing in a court order shared earlier today.
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