Microsoft signs 'binding agreement' to keep Call Of Duty on PlayStation post-Activision merger
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Featured Image Credit: Activision/Sony
PlayStation fans rejoice, because it seems that Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard and Call of Duty takeover saga could soon be over.
When Microsoft announced its intentions to acquire Activision Blizzard for an eye-popping $68.7 billion in January 2022, it’s likely that many of us thought the drama would have been over and done with long before now.
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Alas, there have been many bumps in the road such as the US and UK market regulators rejecting the deal putting the takeover into doubt. US market regulator the FTC attempted to block the takeover, but Microsoft had recently won that battle in court. Now we wait on the process of the UK market regulator, the CMA, who had blocked the deal with concerns over Microsoft’s stronghold on cloud gaming technology, should the Activision Blizzard takeover happen.
Another prominent opposition to the takeover has been Sony with PlayStation boss, Jim Ryan leading the charge. Microsoft had reportedly attempted to smooth things over by not only offering Sony a 10-year deal to ensure that the Call of Duty franchise remains on PlayStation for at least that period, but Nintendo was also offered a similar deal. Nintendo had accepted that proposition, while Sony had rejected it.
Yet, in another twist in this tale, Microsoft and Sony have finally come to an agreement and have come together in a deal that will “keep Call of Duty on PlayStation following the acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” tweeted Xbox chief Phil Spencer.
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. We look forward to a future where players globally have more choice to play their favorite games.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) July 16, 2023
Details on the deal have not been made public at this time, but no doubt gamers across the world will be happy that this saga is seemingly coming to an end. In the defence of Microsoft, it has always maintained that Call of Duty will remain multiplatform should the takeover be finalised, but we guess Sony wanted extra insurance that it wouldn't lose one of the biggest franchises of all time when the 10-year deal expires.
So, now that Microsoft won its battle with the FTC as well as an agreement being made with Sony, what’s next? Well for starters, we still have the small matter of Microsoft and the UK’s CMA coming to a resolution. As for the Call of Duty series, could we soon see the franchise on Xbox Game Pass in the very near future? Unfortunately not, it seems.
Back in October 2022, it was revealed that due to an already existing deal, Activision and Sony had placed: “restrictions on the ability of Activision Blizzard to place Call of Duty titles on Game Pass for a number of years”. It is believed that this deal could run through until 2025.
Whether the recent revelations of agreements being made between Microsoft and Sony will speed up the process of Call of Duty coming to Xbox Game Pass remains to be seen. However, what if a part of that agreement involved the Call of Duty series coming to the PlayStation Plus subscription service? As they say, watch this space.