Microsoft is committing to maintaining Call of Duty on PlayStation for “a number of more years” beyond the existing advertising deal Sony has with Activision. Microsoft Gaming CEO and Xbox chief Phil Spencer made the dedication in a written letter to PlayStation head Jim Ryan earlier this 12 months, and it’s the clearest signal but that Call of Duty gained’t immediately disappear from PlayStation platforms if Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal is accepted by regulators.
“In January, we offered a signed settlement to Sony to ensure Call of Duty on PlayStation, with characteristic and content material parity, for at the least a number of more years beyond the present Sony contract, a proposal that goes properly beyond typical gaming business agreements,” says Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in a press release to The Verge.
Precisely what number of years Call of Duty is assured on PlayStation nonetheless isn’t crystal clear, however Bloomberg initially reported earlier this 12 months that Microsoft was dedicated to releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation “for at the least the subsequent two years,” suggesting that Sony’s advertising deal for the franchise may expire in 2024. Microsoft then publicly dedicated in February to maintaining Call of Duty “out there on PlayStation beyond the existing settlement and into the long run.”
Call of Duty followers nonetheless debate over whether or not Microsoft may technically make the sport an Xbox unique if the Activision Blizzard deal finalizes. Microsoft’s newest assertion doesn’t tackle what occurs after these “a number of more years,” nevertheless it’s clear the corporate is keen to ensure Call of Duty on PlayStation for an extended than common interval than it contractually has to.
Half of that dedication will be to ease fears from regulators who’re analyzing Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to accumulate Activision Blizzard. Attorneys for Sony and Microsoft have been arguing over the significance of Call of Duty in paperwork submitted to Brazil’s Administrative Council for Financial Protection (CADE) regulator, and it’s plainly a sticking level.
Sony claims it might be troublesome for different builders to create a franchise that rivals Activision’s Call of Duty and that it stands out “as a gaming class on its personal.” Microsoft argues it’s not as essential as its rival makes it out to be. The truth is someplace within the center. Microsoft has additionally argued in these paperwork to CADE that not distributing video games like Call of Duty at rival console shops “would merely not be worthwhile” for the corporate.
Microsoft says a technique of not distributing Activision Blizzard video games on rival consoles would solely be worthwhile if the video games may appeal to a excessive quantity of gamers over to the Xbox ecosystem, leading to income to compensate for losses from not promoting these titles on rival consoles.
The fears round Xbox exclusivity for Call of Duty have additionally been stoked after Microsoft acquired Bethesda final 12 months. Microsoft promised to retain existing contractual agreements with Sony for Deathloop on PlayStation however went on to make Redfall and Starfield Xbox and PC exclusives.
Call of Duty competitors fears have additionally performed a giant half within the UK’s Competitors and Markets Authority (CMA) shifting to research Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal more carefully. The CMA is shifting to a part 2 investigation that will see it appoint an impartial panel to find out whether or not Microsoft’s management over video games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft may hurt rivals.
The battle over Call of Duty between Xbox and PlayStation has existed for so long as the franchise has. Sony famously secured a deal for further Call of Duty downloadable content material for PlayStation followers in 2015, after Xbox had been the standard house for Call of Duty. That battle will absolutely proceed as attorneys for Microsoft and Sony proceed to argue about Call of Duty, and regulators attempt to resolve precisely how essential it truly is.