What you need to know
- One of the more contentious points surrounding Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been the golden goose, Call of Duty.
- In a tweet today, Xbox head Phil Spencer has confirmed that an agreement has been struck with Sony that commits to keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation.
- The acquisition is expected to close very soon with only the UK CMA having refused to sign off on it so far.
- Update: A Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed to us that this deal covers the next ten years, and is specific to Call of Duty, not other Activision games. After 2033, it will need to be renegotiated to continue.
The long war is coming to an end.
Xbox and PlayStation has come to an agreement surrounding one of the more contentious parts of the Activision Blizzard acquisition. And the angels, they did sing.
Xbox chief and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer posted the news on Twitter this fine Sunday.
One key detail is missing from the tweet, and that's how long this binding agreement has been signed for. Previous deals around Call of Duty and other ABK titles with the likes of Nintendo and NVIDIA have specified ten years.
Update: Microsoft has confirmed to us that this deal is similar to the previous one, and covers Call of Duty on PlayStation for the next ten years. In 2033, the deal will need to be renegotiated. Additionally, this deal only covers Call of Duty, and not other Activision-Blizzard games.
Why is this important? It finally puts to bed any possible claim from any corner that Microsoft was going to try and take Activision's biggest title away from its biggest player base. Call of Duty is biggest on PlayStation, and unless Microsoft just hates making money, it would have been idiotic to even consider not having it on PlayStation.
In an email revealed as part of the FTC vs. Xbox court hearings, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan said that the company would be "more than OK" if Microsoft purchased Activision Blizzard, but then later pushed to try and get the merger blocked.
Now, though, it's no longer a question or an issue. I for one, look forward to this deal finally closing and never hearing about it again. It really does feel like it's been 84 years.
The deal could be imminently done, too. After the FTC's loss in court and the denial of injunctive relief to block the deal, only the UK's CMA standing in the way, the way is paved to get this whole affair wrapped up sooner rather than later. Maybe we can soon start refocusing on the good that can come from this deal rather than endlessly fighting about it.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine