Sony Admits Defeat and Signs Microsoft Deal to Keep Call of Duty on PlayStation
The last bastion of industry opposition to Microsoft-Activision merger has fallen
Agreement to Keep Call of Duty on PlayStation
Sony has seemingly recognized the inevitability of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard going through, and has signed an agreement with Microsoft to keep Call of Duty available on PlayStation for the next 10 years. The news was announced on Sunday by Microsoft’s gaming head Phil Spencer. The deal specifically covers Call of Duty and not any other Activision Blizzard games.
Increased Choice for Players
Phil Spencer tweeted, “We look forward to a future where players globally have more choice to play their favorite games.” This agreement aligns with previous agreements Microsoft had signed with other companies such as Nintendo and Nvidia, further expanding gaming options for players.
Addressing Concerns and Regulator Opposition
Microsoft president Brad Smith stated, “From Day One of this acquisition, we’ve been committed to addressing the concerns of regulators, platform and game developers, and consumers.” Microsoft has been proactive in countering opposition from regulators and ensuring that Call of Duty remains available on multiple platforms for a wider audience.
Sony’s Stalemate and Failed Strategy
Sony’s initial strategy was to use Call of Duty as leverage with regulators to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. However, their attempts were unsuccessful as EU regulators were satisfied with the assurances offered by Microsoft. The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority also changed its opposition to concerns around cloud gaming. Only the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ran with Sony’s argument, but ultimately lost the case in court.
Conclusion and Deal Timeline
The signing of the agreement with Microsoft marks the end of Sony’s opposition to the acquisition. With the deal expected to close on Tuesday, July 18, Sony has effectively accepted the completion of the acquisition. While there are still two regulators opposed to the deal, the FTC’s emergency block has failed in court, and the CMA is in negotiations with Microsoft for a path forward in the U.K. The extended deadline for the CMA’s decision is August 29.