A federal judge in the US has cleared the way for the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard acquisition worth approximately $69 billion. In the UK, a six-week period has been granted that gives Microsoft-Activision Blizzard and the UK’s regulators time to work out a compromise that would enable the deal to go through. Meanwhile, Microsoft has agreed to sign a legal document saying it would maintain the coveted Call of Duty game on Sony’s PlayStation (and other platforms), clearing Sony’s major complaint against the acquisition.
If you wondered whether you would be able to play Call of Duty on PlayStation in the near future, well, wonder no more. That question has been answered in the affirmative.
Call of Duty, the mega game franchise published by Activision, has waged virtual wars across many different battlefields. Lately, a very different battle surrounding the franchise has been brewing, this one involving Sony and Microsoft, prompted by Microsoft’s move to acquire Activision Blizzard.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has argued that such a merger would freeze out others, particularly Sony and its PlayStation platform, from Activision’s highly valued library of video games, and in turn, give exclusive access to the uber popular Call of Duty and other Activision titles on Microsoft’s Xbox platform. During a hearing in federal court, a lawyer for Microsoft maintained that it makes sense for Xbox to make the Activision games available to as many players on as many platforms as possible. During that June hearing, Microsoft said it would sign a legal document promising to provide Call of Duty to competitors for 10 years. A treaty of sorts with that condition and time frame has now been signed.
Late last week, Microsoft cleared what appears to be the last FTC minefield that would have blown up the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal, estimated to be worth nearly $69 billion. This came after the FTC was granted a temporary restraining order during that hearing last month, putting the acquisition on hold until a judge ruled on the FTC’s request for a preliminary injunction. Late last week, the judge rejected that injunction, clearing the path for the merger to take place. The acquisition deadline is now just hours away on July 18, 2023. If the deal cannot be finalized by then, an extension or renegotiation of terms would have to occur, or else Microsoft would forfeit the agreed-upon penalty of $3 billion to Activision.
Not surprising, the US has not been the sole country raising concerns over the deal’s potential effect on the marketplace. However, it looks like a six-week truce has been called between Microsoft-Activision Blizzard and the UK’s CMA regulator over its concerns, as now both sides work toward a compromise that would enable the deal to go through.
In addition to the agreement with Sony to keep Call of Duty on other platforms besides Xbox, Microsoft has been signing provisional agreements to license these titles to others including Nintendo and some cloud gaming providers in an attempt to show its intent on the matter.
Since the title debuted in 2003, Call of Duty has been developed for just about every possible major gaming platform—such as Windows, OS X, Nintendo (DS, Wii, and GameCube), and Microsoft (PlayStation, Vita, Xbox), as well as handhelds, mobile devices (iOS, Android), and more.