In a recent interview with the New York Times, Microsoft confirmed that it offered a 10-year deal to Sony on November 11 that would keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony has raised concerns regarding the potentially exclusive nature of Call of Duty, which led to Microsoft accusing Sony of misleading regulators.
Xbox has been making some pretty significant moves over the past couple of years with big-ticket acquisitions such as that of Zenimax Media (Bethesda) and now Activision-Blizzard-King. IPs such as Candy Crush and Call of Duty are perhaps some of the most valuable in the media/gaming space, so it is no surprise that Microsoft’s acquisition of the publishers would invite intense scrutiny from regulators across the globe.
“The first call Satya and I made after the deal was announced was to the C.E.O. of Sony to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to keep Call of Duty on your platform,'” said Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming/Xbox. So far, regulatory bodies in Saudi Arabia and Brazil have approved the deal, with a total of 14 other regulatory bodies still yet to approve.
Sony is Yet to Comment on the 10-Year Call of Duty Deal Reportedly Proposed by Microsoft/Xbox
Sony has been accused of misleading regulators as to the value of the Call of Duty franchise to its viability by Microsoft. Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, reacted with an official statement, wherein he denied these accusations and deemed Microsoft a “tech giant with a history of dominating industries”.
[Microsoft is] a tech giant with a long history of dominating industries,” Ryan told the NYTimes. “It is highly likely that the choices gamers have today will disappear if this deal goes ahead.”
For several years now, PlayStation users have enjoyed a number of exclusive benefits in Call of Duty games such as exclusive skins, early access, and in-game bonuses. This acquisition puts that proposition at risk as there is a good chance that Xbox will try and lock COD users to their platforms instead.
Spencer recently commented regarding Call of Duty’s status on PlayStation that Activision will continue to ship COD titles to PlayStation “as long as there is a PlayStation to ship to”. While this was rather comforting news at first to Sony, the reported 10-year deal does not seem to line up with the comments.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, especially given how much of a success the series’ latest entry has been. Call of Duty Modern Warfare II is now the fastest-selling title in the history of the franchise and is well on its way to becoming the most successful one in the series.