It seems that the Call of Duty series will remain on PlayStation consoles for at least ten years, even after a Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to recent reports, Microsoft is willing to make concessions to get regulatory approvals.
Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard remains the subject of extensive reviews, the outcome of which is uncertain. The British regulatory authority in particular is critical of the deal. But even in the EU, the takeover is not a sure-fire success.
However, Microsoft is apparently keen to speed things up. In a new one Reuters report quotes “persons familiar with the matter” as claiming that Microsoft “is likely to offer remedies” before EU antitrust authorities to speed up the process of gaining approval to buy Activision Blizzard.
According to the report, the most important measure is a “10-year license agreement” with Sony, which would keep the “Call of Duty” shooter series on the PlayStation consoles for a correspondingly long time.
If such a deal materializes, it could make it much easier to get approval from the FTC and the UK’s CMA, as well as any other countries that have yet to approve the sale, it said.
Stéphane Dionnet, a partner at law firm McDermott Will & Emery, told Reuters that if Microsoft approves the deal in the EU, it could better support the case in other regions where the proposed acquisition is still going through the regulatory process.
Sony fears exclusivity
The PlayStation maker had previously opposed the acquisition due to the risk of Call of Duty continuing exclusively on Microsoft’s Xbox platform, which would negatively impact Sony’s console business and consumer choice.
In a statement to the British CMA, Sony stressed among other things: “After the transaction, Xbox would become the single point of contact for all best-selling shooter franchises on consoles (Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, Overwatch)… and would then be free from serious competitive pressures.”
“Call of Duty” has become synonymous with the FPS category and a benchmark by which all other FPS games are measured, Sony told regulators.
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Last week was reportedthat the US Federal Trade Commission is considering filing an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal, or at least force concessions. The British competition and market surveillance authority has also disclosed a number of possible problems in recent weeks.
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