After a bitter months-long battle, Sony has agreed to a deal with Microsoft to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation following the Xbox owner’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
On Sunday, Microsoft CEO of Gaming Phil Spencer tweeted about the new “binding agreement.” Microsoft confirmed to The Verge that this is a 10-year deal, just as Microsoft has signed with the likes of Nintendo and Nvidia.
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
Since Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard last year, the company has been trying to sign deals with various companies, particularly Sony, to address global regulators’ anti-competitive concerns. Sony, meanwhile, has been repeatedly trying to block the purchase, arguing that Call of Duty is a crucial part of the PlayStation ecosystem and, therefore, it would be unfair for Microsoft to own it. However, an FTC hearing last month revealed that contrary to Sony’s public position, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan was actually “pretty sure we will continue to see Call of Duty on PlayStation for many years to come.”
The deal comes after a California judge denied the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction on the deal, arguing that the agency had failed to present a case as to how Microsoft owning Activision Blizzard would stifle competition. After blocking the deal in April, the U.K. has also agreed to pause its legal battle with Microsoft to further negotiate. Microsoft says it’s looking into how it can address some of the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) concerns, which largely centre around how Activision Blizzard would bolster Microsoft’s place in the nascent cloud gaming market.
Now, Microsoft is hoping to close the Activision Blizzard deal by its July 18th deadline, although it remains to be seen whether it might be slightly delayed to resolve everything with U.K. regulators.
Image credit: Activision Blizzard