Sony and Microsoft signed a binding agreement over the weekend making sure that Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for at least 10 years after Microsoft's proposed purchase of Activision is total. The agreement, which Sony had actually withstood finalizing for months, effectively ends a bitter fight between the 2 console giants over the alleged anti-competitive effects of Microsoft's $69 billion Activision purchase, which was first proposed in January 2022.
Further Reading Judge sides with Microsoft in FTC injunction, opening final Activision fights The new agreement also effectively moots among the most significant arguments made by the Federal Trade Commission in its federal case to obstruct the merger, which failed to make an FTC-sought injunction recently. And it's most likely not a coincidence that the contract with Sony was revealed simply one day after a federal appeals court rejected the FTC's request for an appeal over that injunction choice.
The offer, as announced over the weekend by Xbox Chief Phil Spencer and Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith, does not appear to include a guarantee of PlayStation access to any of Activision Blizzard's other popular franchises (consisting of Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Overwatch, Diablo, and more). However the fate of Call of Duty has long been the significant focus of both Sony and regulators. Court files revealed that Call of Duty alone deserves at least $800 million in yearly revenue to Sony and that approximately 20 million PlayStation owners spend a considerable part of their console playtime on the series (including 1 million PlayStation owners who literally play no other video games on the system).
A bitter history
Microsoft at first provided Sony a three-year Call of Duty offer last summer season, a deal Sony publicly called "insufficient" at the time. Microsoft then upped the official deal to a 10-year offer by late last year, contributing to an informal promise of "everlasting assistance" for Call of Duty on PlayStation.
Nintendo and Nvidia would sign comparable offers protecting Call of Duty for their platforms previously this year. But Sony continued to hold out, arguing in UK legal documents that it could not trust Microsoft's pledges on this score because of Microsoft-exclusive Bethesda titles and "the myriad methods Microsoft could circumvent its responsibilities."
Sony also publicly expressed worries that Microsoft would just give PlayStation a "abject" version of Call of Duty in an attempt to buoy the Xbox platform. However Microsoft has repeatedly assured that PlayStation Call of Duty will continue to match Microsoft platforms in regards to "release date, content, functions, upgrades, quality, and playability."
Further Reading Private e-mail shows PlayStation primary unworried about Xbox-exclusive Call of Duty Sony's public complaints have also conflicted with reports of the company's private response to the news of Microsoft's tried Activision acquisition. In a personal January 2022 email revealed at the FTC trial, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan stated," I'm pretty sure we will continue to see CoD on PlayStation for several years to come." And in March, an Activision Blizzard executive openly accused Ryan of stating that he "[ does not] want a new Call of Duty deal. I just wish to block your merger." Ryan later confirmed in court testimony that he had told Activision CEO Bobby Kotick that he" thought the transaction was anti-competitive," which he "hoped that the regulators would do their task and obstruct it." With Sony's submission and the FTC case losing substantial steam, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority stands as the only considerable barrier delegated Microsoft and Activision lastly completing their merger. Microsoft and the CMA are currently discussing"
how the deal might be customized in order to attend to those concerns in a manner that is acceptable to the CMA. "