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Microsoft and Sony have signed a binding agreement 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 been reluctant to sign a deal and the terms of that deal were not disclosed. But Microsoft has also signed 10-year agreements with Nintendo and cloud gaming services.
Sony’s PlayStation chief Jim Ryan previously resisted signing a deal after Microsoft first offered a 10-year deal last year. Instead, Sony appealed to regulators to block the merger on antitrust grounds.
In testimony and evidence presented in the antitrust litigation, Ryan had revealed that he was “pretty sure we will continue to see Call of Duty on PlayStation for many years to come. Microsoft also proposed on August 26, 2022 that PlayStation would be able to keep a variety of Activision games. Ryan had said Phil Spencer’s offers were “inadequate on many levels and did not take into account the impact on our players”.
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 that he thought the deal was anti-competitive. And Microsoft said it wouldn’t pull the game from Sony’s platform because it wouldn’t make financial sense.
Now, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is the only remaining regulator standing in the way of the deal. The CMA and Microsoft are negotiating ahead of the July 18 closing deadline.
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