Microsoft And Sony Strike Deal To Keep Call Of Duty On PlayStation But For How Long?
Microsoft has signed a "binding agreement" with rival Sony to ensure that the Call of Duty franchise will remain available on PlayStation game consoles for the foreseeable future, Xbox boss Phil Spencer announced in a Twitter post. The agreement follows the near conclusion of Microsoft's controversial attempt to acquire Activision-Blizzard for $69 billion.
The controversy arose from fears by some in the industry, including Sony and the Federal Trade Commission, that Microsoft would be too big for its gaming britches (to borrow a southern term) if regulators allowed the landmark deal to go through. More to the point, Sony argued that Microsoft could release buggy versions of one gaming's most popular franchises on PlayStation, and even if "swiftly detected, any remedy would likely come too late, by which time the gaming community would have lost confidence" in Sony's hardware.
Combined with other arguments, Sony has up to this point resisted inking a Call of Duty deal with Microsoft, even as Microsoft formed 10-year agreements with both Nintendo and NVIDIA. However, resistance has proven futile with a federal judge ruling against the FTC last week. The FTC also lost a subsequent appeal in a last ditch effort to block the deal. All that remains in Microsoft's way is clearance by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), with approval expected before the end of August.
Sony is effectively out of moves at this point, hence it's not surprising that it agreed to some kind of deal with Microsoft.
"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," Spencer stated on Twitter.
Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, echoed Spencer's sentiment saying, "Even as we cross the finish line for this deal's approval, we will remain focused on ensuring that Call of Duty remains available on more platforms and for more consumers than ever before."
Curiously missing from the tweets are any concrete details about the binding agreement, and specifically how long Microsoft is committed to keeping games available on PlayStation consoles. The assumption is that it's another 10-year deal, but that has not been confirmed at the time of this writing. It's also not yet known if Sony will be allowed to put Call of Duty on its PlayStation Plus cloud gaming service, as part of the deal. We'll share more details as they emerge.