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Microsoft and Sony have signed a binding deal to keep Call of Duty on the PlayStation platform.
The deal comes after a federal appeals court on Friday rejected the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to delay Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard on antitrust grounds.
Sony had previously balked at signing a deal and terms of this deal weren’t disclosed. But Microsoft also signed 10-year deals with Nintendo and cloud gaming services.
Sony’s PlayStation chief Jim Ryan had previously resisted signing a deal after Microsoft first offered a 10-year contract last year. Instead, Sony appealed to regulators to block the merger on antitrust grounds.
In testimony and evidence offered in the antitrust litigation, Ryan had revealed he was “pretty sure we will continue to see Call of Duty on PlayStation for many years to come. Microsoft also offered on August 26, 2022 that PlayStation would be able to retain a variety of Activision games. Ryan had said Phil Spencer’s offers were “inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers.”
Ryan also told Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, “I don’t want a new Call of Duty deal. I just want to block your merger.” Ryan testified he thought the deal was anti-competitive. And Microsoft has said it won’t pull the game from Sony’s platform because that makes no financial sense.
Now the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority is the sole remaining regulator standing in the way of the deal. The CMA and Microsoft are negotiating ahead of a July 18 closing deadline.
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