Another day, another report or story about Microsoft doing whatever is needed to make sure its purchase of Activision Blizzard is allowed to happen. This time, it’s reported that Microsoft is willing to offer some concessions to regulators to get the deal approved, including a deal to keep Activision games on PlayStation consoles for the next decade.
As Microsoft continues its determined attempts to consume Activision Blizzard via its massive $69 billion acquisition, it keeps running into pesky governments and regulators. Many of these groups seem to have some issues with one of the biggest tech companies on the planet consuming one of the biggest and oldest video game publishers out there. So Microsoft has been forced to spend most of the last year submitting documents and responses to different courtrooms and regulatory committees around the globe in an effort to see the merger through. And it seems Xbox might be willing to cut a deal with Sony over Call of Duty and other Activision games in an attempt to appease European Union regulators.
Earlier today, Reuters reported that sources familiar with the deal and companies involved claim that Microsoft will offer a series of “concessions” to the EU’s European Commission, the main one being a 10-year licensing deal with Sony. No specific details were shared by Reuters, but considering how few games Activision publishes these days outside Call of Duty, it seems likely this would keep CoD on PlayStation for 10 years, at least. This echoes statements from Xbox boss Phil Spencer that he and the company have no plans to make Call of Duty exclusive. This would formalize that promise for the next decade.
Kotaku has reached out to Activision, Sony, and Microsoft about the reported licensing deal.
Meanwhile, Microsoft could face a tough roadblock in its plan to buy up Activision as it was reported last week that the Federal Trade Commission in the United States has plans to file an antitrust lawsuit in an effort to block the massive $69 billion tech deal from happening.
Previously, Activision told Kotaku it’s “absurd” to suggest the proposed deal between it and Microsoft will cause any anticompetitive effects.
“This merger will benefit gamers and the U.S. gaming industry, especially as we face increasingly stiff competition from abroad,” said Activision. “We are committed to continuing to work cooperatively with regulators around the globe to allow the transaction to proceed, but won’t hesitate to fight to defend the transaction if required.”
Update 11/28/2022 19:53 p.m. ET: A Microsoft spokesperson commented to Kotaku:
We’re continuing to work with the European Commission on next steps and to address any valid marketplace concerns. Sony, as the industry leader, says it is worried about Call of Duty, but we’ve said we are committed to making the same game available on the same day on both Xbox and PlayStation. We want people to have more access to games, not less.