According to reports, Xbox offered Sony a deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles for at least another ten years
According to reports, Microsoft contacted Sony with a 10-year deal in order to keep the Call of Duty brand on PlayStation. The news comes as tensions between the two gaming titans remain high, as they are now locked in legal battles over Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, with Call of Duty caught in the crossfire.
Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion merger, a landmark deal for the video gaming industry, has been delayed significantly as the United Kingdom and European Union raise worries about competition if the acquisition goes forward as planned. The European Commission, which appears to be more cautious than the Brazilian Administrative Council, which authorised the agreement last month, announced an in-depth probe. Only Saudi Arabia has authorised the deal, with more nations expressing reservations that seem to reflect, at least in part, Sony’s arguments, which have used the Call of Duty franchise to illustrate why the merger may be expensive for the industry.
The New York Times piece begins by summarising recent events, including Microsoft’s claim that Sony has been “misleading regulators.” It frames the situation as one pertaining to the state of Big Tech, citing fears that “industry giants wield too much power,” and listing Google, Meta, Amazon, and Apple as examples, companies that are all in some way invested in the video game industry. The story goes on to say that Microsoft “has been less effective in neutralising criticism from Sony,” leaving them unhappy with promises that Call of Duty is not in danger of losing exclusivity.
In fact, Microsoft is said to have offered Sony a “ten-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation,” which Sony has declined to comment on. When referring to PlayStation, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer was quoted as saying, “we’re going to keep Call of Duty on your platform.” According to New York Times, Microsoft’s “public affairs operation has spent the last decade building the company’s nice-guy reputation,” so Sony may be hesitant to accept Microsoft at its word without a binding deal to back it up.
With gambling being the most profitable industry in the entertainment sector, regulatory bodies all over the world are correct to scrutinise any prospective acquisitions, particularly one of this magnitude. Google had the now-defunct Stadia service, Amazon recently released Lost Ark and built New World, Meta has extensively invested in virtual reality, and Apple possesses a very profitable store that controls a wealthy mobile game industry. Given the dangers of monopolies and the present trend of a gaming business that is increasingly absorbing smaller publishers and studios, tight regulation of all parties involved might be beneficial.