Sony has resolved its long-standing dispute with Microsoft over the popular video game franchise, Call of Duty. This resolution comes with a deal that ensures Call of Duty remains available on PlayStation following Microsoft's proposed acquisition of game developer Activision Blizzard.
This deal signifies an end to a bitter, public and private feud between Sony and Microsoft, which was sparked by Microsoft's announcement of its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022. Sony had initially resisted signing an agreement with Microsoft, citing concerns over the potential exclusivity of Call of Duty to Xbox or possible sabotage of PlayStation versions of the game.
However, internal communications revealed in the FTC v. Microsoft hearing disclosed that PlayStation chief, Ryan, was confident that Call of Duty would continue to be available on PlayStation. Over the past year and a half, Sony and Microsoft have been engaged in extensive discussions and negotiations over the future of Activision content on PlayStation.
The dispute reached a climax when Ryan spoke to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in February 2023, stating his intention to block the merger rather than negotiating a new Call of Duty deal. Despite the tensions, Microsoft consistently assured that it planned to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation, citing financial considerations.
The focus now shifts to the regulatory situation in the UK, where Microsoft's proposed deal was earlier blocked. Microsoft and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are currently negotiating potential modifications to the transaction to address the CMA's concerns about cloud gaming. However, this might lead to a slight delay in the finalization of Microsoft's Activision deal, which was initially set to close on July 18th.