In a significant development, Sony and Microsoft have reached a binding agreement to ensure that the popular gaming franchise Call of Duty remains available on the PlayStation platform. The resolution comes following a US judge’s rejection of calls to block Microsoft’s acquisition of games publisher Activision Blizzard. The deal signifies a collaborative effort between the tech giants to provide players with more choice and maintain the presence of Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles. This announcement concludes a prolonged battle between the two companies since Microsoft’s initial announcement of its intended acquisition of Activision Blizzard in early 2022.
Microsoft’s Phil Spencer confirmed the binding agreement in a recent statement, ending the protracted dispute over Call of Duty’s future availability. According to Spencer, the agreement ensures that Call of Duty will continue to be accessible on the PlayStation gaming platform. The resolution represents a cooperative effort to prioritize player preferences and provide them with increased options.
Microsoft has informed the BBC that the agreement between Sony and Microsoft spans a 10-year period, similar to the reported deal struck between Microsoft and Nintendo. This long-term commitment solidifies the collaboration between the two tech giants and underscores their shared objective to maintain the availability of Call of Duty on the PlayStation platform.
Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard would mark the largest gaming industry buyout in history. The deal has been subject to scrutiny and regulatory challenges, with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) attempting to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision. The FTC’s objections have triggered a global debate among regulators.
A US judge recently rejected the FTC’s request to temporarily halt the Microsoft-Activision deal, indicating that the merger could proceed as planned. Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley stated in her decision that the FTC had not demonstrated a high likelihood of success in its claim that the combined company would remove Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation or significantly diminish competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets.
While the European Union has approved the deal, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK initially blocked the acquisition. However, Microsoft is currently appealing the decision. The CMA has now stated that it will take six weeks to thoroughly evaluate the deal, considering the complex nature of the submissions. The CMA aims to fulfill its responsibilities promptly and before the end of August.
The agreement reached between Sony and Microsoft ensures that Call of Duty will remain available on the PlayStation platform, resolving a dispute that arose from Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This collaboration between the tech giants demonstrates their commitment to player satisfaction and offers them increased choices. The US judge’s rejection of the FTC’s request to halt the merger paves the way for its completion, with the deal gaining regulatory approvals in the European Union. While the UK’s CMA continues to evaluate the acquisition, Microsoft remains focused on addressing regulatory concerns. As the gaming industry evolves, the resolution of this dispute opens up new opportunities for collaboration and the continued availability of popular gaming franchises on various platforms.