Microsoft says it offered Sony a deal that would keep the Call of Duty series on PlayStation consoles for the next ten years.
Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is currently undergoing scrutiny in 16 regions around the world. One sticking point for competition regulators, including the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the European Commission, is the Call of Duty franchise.
Microsoft offered to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for the next ten years
Authorities are worried that Microsoft could make the Call of Duty franchise exclusive to the Xbox platform, giving Microsoft an advantage over its competition. In recent months and weeks, Microsoft has made continued promises to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles to assauge both regulators and Sony. In September, it was revealed that Microsoft had offered Sony a deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for “at least several more years” beyond Activision’s existing agreement with Sony. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan didn’t like that deal, calling it “inadequate on many levels.” Last month, Xbox boss Phil Spencer pledged to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for “as long as there’s a PlayStation to ship to.”
Now, speaking with the New York Times, Microsoft has gone into a bit more detail about its latest offer to Sony, revealing that on November 11th, it had offered Sony a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony declined to comment on the claim.
Sony has fiercely fought back against the acquisition at every opportunity. In September, Jim Ryan said, “Giving Microsoft control of Activision games like Call of Duty, this deal would have major negative implications for gamers and the future of the gaming industry.” In response to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority publishing its reasons behind launching a secondary investigation into the deal, Microsoft hit back, calling the CMA’s concerns “misplaced” and that the regulator “adopts Sony’s complaints without the appropriate level of critical review.” Microsoft also accused Sony of misleading regulators, saying that the company has “overstated the importance of Call of Duty to its viability.”
In a statement to the New York Times, Ryan said it was “not true” that Sony had misled regulators, adding, Microsoft is “a tech giant with a long history of dominating industries” and that “it is highly likely that the choices gamers have today will disappear if this deal goes ahead.”