Microsoft signs 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation
Image credit: Activision Blizzard
The video game will stay available on PlayStation for the next ten years, following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard
Microsoft and Sony have announced they have reached a licensing agreement that would allow the Call of Duty franchise to remain accessible on PlayStation, ending the battle between the companies that begun with the announcement of Microsoft’s takeover of video game maker Activision.
The agreement is similar to other licensing deals Microsoft has offered to appease regulator’s concerns over the acquisition, such as the one that will also bring Call of Duty to Nintendo until 2033.
The deal is solely focused on the franchise - the largest one published by Activision - and does not make a mention of the firm's other products.
“We are pleased to announce that Microsoft and PlayStation have signed a binding agreement to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation following the acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said on Twitter. He added that the deal would provide “more choice” to players.
Microsoft first announced its multi-billion deal to buy Activision in January 2022, which would see the company acquire hit titles such as Call of Duty and Candy Crush. The deal has been hailed as the “biggest takeover in tech history” and could become the largest acquisition in the history of the video game industry.
Since it was first made public, the acquisition has raised concerns among regulators, which claimed it could allow Microsoft to make Activision's games exclusive to its Xbox platform and harm competition in the sector.
The news of the Sony deal follows the rejection of the Federal Trade Commission's calls to block the Activision acquisition by a US judge, paving the way for the closing of the transaction.
"The court finds the FTC has not shown a likelihood it will prevail on its claim this particular vertical merger in this specific industry may substantially lessen competition," the judge wrote. "To the contrary, the evidence points to more consumer access to Call of Duty and other Activision content. The motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore denied."
The FTC’s appeal of the decision was also denied by the Ninth Circuit.
In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has agreed to pause its legal battle with Microsoft and begin negotiations that would address the regulator’s competition concerns regarding the cloud gaming market.
The CMA has given itself until 29 August to reach a final decision, although it said it "aims to discharge its duty as soon as possible and in advance of this date".
Microsoft is hoping to close its Activision deal by its July 18th deadline, but it’s possible we’ll see a small delay to the close to allow for the UK situation to be resolved.
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