Microsoft and Sony have come to an agreement that will ensure ‘Call of Duty’ remains available on PlayStation after the completion of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The agreement, which comes after Sony was among the loudest critics of the acquisition, has ended regulators’ fears of the potential gaming market power Microsoft would have after the deal.
Microsoft vice chair Brad Smith announced the agreement on Sunday, noting that even after the potential deal closes, Microsoft ‘will remain focused on ensuring that Call of Duty remains available on more platforms and for more consumers than ever before.’
For Microsoft, the agreement represents a triumph in the process of merging with Activision Blizzard. Microsoft had already signed multiyear licensing agreements with rival companies including Nintendo and Nvidia to ensure Activision titles would not be restricted from users of those businesses’ platforms and consoles. Jim Ryan of Sony’s interactive entertainment division had testified in June that the proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition was ‘not good for competition.’
The acquisition is subject to a contractual deadline of July 18 to close the merger. The agreement with Sony does something to ameliorate regulatory concerns, although Microsoft and Sony are not disclosing the duration of the agreement. Microsoft is also hoping to reach an agreement with the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority, which could stipulate divestitures and blocked prior tech deals. The CMA has said it is prepared to negotiate with Microsoft over the terms of the deal.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said ‘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.’ Spencer added that Microsoft ‘remain[s] focused on ensuring that Call of Duty remains available on more platforms and for more consumers than ever before.’
This agreement could be a defining moment in the video game industry, as it allows Microsoft and Sony to coexist and peacefully. The companies have created a way for gamers across platforms to enjoy ‘Call of Duty’ without any restrictions, and that could spell positive change for the gaming industry in the years to come.