It seems everything is finally going Microsoft’s way and their acquisition of Activision Blizzard is heading towards the finishing gates as Phil Spencer has announced that Sony and Microsoft have signed a deal that ensures Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for the next ten years.
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 of the agreement have not been revealed but I would expect Sony have been quite insistent on details such as release dates to make sure CoD isn’t a timed exclusive. It never really made any sense to keep Call of Duty off PlayStation anyway as PlayStation 5 is the leading consoles and so the game sells more on that format. However, given that Microsoft promised Bethesda release would be multi format and then quickly changed their mind as soon as they had bought the studio you can see why Sony would want the deal.
Whilst Call of Duty fans will be happy it does mean that former PlayStation mascots Spyro and Crash Bandicoot could end up being Xbox exclusive, and any other games released by Activision or Blizzard. There again, those companies are hardly the publishing machines they used to be, Activision really is just CoD and an occasional small game like Crash Team Rumble.
Of course if they wanted to be total <expletives>, Microsoft could just cancel Call f Duty and make the exact same game and call it something else and bypass the deal.
Last week in the United States the courts have denied the US Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction. In light of the US ruling, the UK’s Consumer and Markets Authority has agreed to halt their upcoming legal spat and head back to the negotiating table.
After a five day long court battle that had Microsoft saying they’d lost the console wars, revealing that more Bethesda games would be Xbox exclusives (and their execs blindsided by the Call of Duty cross-platform pledge), and failed redactions from Sony’s submitted documentation, and plenty more besides, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley has landed firmly on Microsoft’s side in the argument.
There are still many hoops to hump through but it does look like Microsoft will get to buy Activision Blizzard.