Game News Call of Duty: Microsoft ready to solve the problem once and for all to ensure the takeover of Activision Blizzard!
It will soon be a year since we talk about the takeover of Activision Blizzard King by Microsoft. It must be said that the case is complex, both in terms of the amount of the transaction and the weight that this will give to Microsoft in gaming. A takeover that Sony does not see favorably, in particular because of Call of Duty.
Call of Duty: when a license becomes the pivot of a 70 billion takeover
Call of Duty is a huge license, and the billion dollars generated in 10 days by Modern Warfare 2 only confirms this. After more than 15 years of landing on our consoles and PCs every year, the franchise experiences only small slowdowns when an episode goes less well, and all it takes is a warm welcome and everything starts up again. For several years now, Sony is partner of the license.
Communication around games is done on PlayStation, some content arrives in advance, and the betas are playable first on Sony consoles. A situation that could change, since Call of Duty belongs to Activision, which Microsoft intends to buy for nearly 70 billion of dollars. But this idea does not please Sony at allwho made it known through declarations, press releases, and meetings with market regulators, who, for their part, must validate or not the operation.
Sony’s arguments, which consist in saying that Microsoft would become too powerful and that the Call of Duty license is a major lever in terms of competitionwas rejected by Brazil and Saudi Arabia, but heard by the CMA in the UK, and by the European Commission. The two regulators gave an initial negative opinion on the takeover, citing the Call of Duty case in their reports. However, this does not mean that the takeover cannot take place, these organizations having launched an in-depth investigation in order to obtain more elements and to analyze each point of the file.
Microsoft ready to make concessions over the long term!
With tensions around the Activision Blizzard King takeover crystallized around Call of Duty, this is what Phil Spencer was asked about, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming. Obviously, the boss of the Xbox brand is worn out by this concern, and intends to settle it once and for all. Over the past few weeks, he has repeatedly said that the idea of depriving other platforms of the Call of Duty license was commercially absurdand that Microsoft had no not the intention to make the license exclusive.
This speech reassured neither the regulators nor Sony, so Phil Spencer go into high gear. In a new interview with The Verge, the executive said there was no question of “pull the rug out from under the PlayStation 7 by saying ‘hahaha, we didn’t make a contract long enough’. He adds that there is no contract that runs forever, and therefore that perhaps it had to come to that, or at least, run a contract over an extremely long period.
I think the idea of writing a contract that says “forever” is a little ridiculous, but I have no problem making a longer-term commitment that would be fine with Sony and the regulators. Call of Duty natively on PlayStation, not linked to Game Pass, without streaming. If they want a streaming version of Call of Duty, we could do that too, like we do on our own consoles.
I hide nothing behind my back. It’s the Call of Duty Modern Warfare II which works very well on PlayStation, which works very well on Xbox. Like the next game, the one after (etc.). (All this in) native on the platform, without having to subscribe to Game Pass. Sony doesn’t need to add Game Pass to its platform for this to happen. There is nothing hidden. We want to continue to offer Call of Duty on PlayStation without there being any element of surprise (…). I understand some people’s concerns about this, and I’m just trying to be as clear as possible.
Microsoft also reaffirmed in the file filed with the regulators that continuing to offer Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles was an imperative commercial for the activity of the Xbox brand, but also for the “economy of the transaction”. “Microsoft has made it clear that it relies on revenue from the distribution of Activision Blizzard games on Sony PlayStation”, can we read. It remains to know whether Sony will agree to sign an extended agreement, if the manufacturer maintains its position regardless of Microsoft’s proposals. Let us remember that the European Union will have to decide no later than March 31, 2023and that the FTC (United States), could render its verdict in the coming weeks.