As part of its efforts to persuade authorities to approve its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has recently made some significant commitments. One of those assurances was a contract proposed to Sony, which guaranteed that Call of Duty would be accessible on PlayStation systems for ten years. The arrangement included PlayStation Plus rights.
According to Bloomberg, Microsoft’s previously disclosed offer to Sony for ten years of Call of Duty on Sony consoles if the Activision Blizzard acquisition went through was combined with the rights to sell the game through Sony’s PlayStation game subscription service. Sony has not yet accepted the offer and has kept the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Federal Trade Commission informed of its reservations over the acquisition.
In a bid to win regulatory approval for its $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard Inc., Microsoft Corp. has offered rival Sony Group Corp. the right to sell Activision blockbuster Call of Duty as part of its gaming subscription service.
Microsoft has publicly stated that it offered Sony a 10-year deal to make Call of Duty available on the Japanese company’s PlayStation console. The proposal, which Sony hasn’t accepted, also includes rights to sell the title on the PlayStation Plus service, which gives gamers access to a catalog of games for a monthly fee, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who declined to be identified because the talks are confidential.”
The PlayStation Plus deal is particularly noteworthy in light of Microsoft’s increasing marketing of its subscription program, Xbox Game Pass. If the transaction goes through, Microsoft has already announced that it plans to add Call of Duty to Game Pass. In contrast, Sony has asserted that Game Pass “significantly” outpaces PlayStation Plus in terms of subscriber numbers.
Meanwhile, Gabe Newell, the president of Valve, said the company had no need for a ten-year contract but was delighted to continue working with Microsoft “after” the transaction was completed. Nintendo recently accepted the ten-year deal Microsoft offered to install Call of Duty on Nintendo devices.
The European Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority have recently begun investigations into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard due to concerns that the combination may severely lessen competition. To reassure authorities that the balance of the gaming industry is not skewed in their favor, Microsoft will need to take more steps.