Microsoft has said it believes 10 years is long enough for Sony to develop rival offerings to the Call of Duty franchise, VideoGamesChronicle reported.
According to VideoGamesChronicle, regulators in the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have expressed concerns that Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard could significantly reduce PlayStation’s ability to compete given that it would see Microsoft gain ownership of the Call of Duty series, which Sony has called “irreplaceable.”
In a bid to gain approval for the deal, Microsoft has told regulators it’s willing to make each new Call of Duty game available on the PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox for a 10-year period, with full content and feature parity. In a newly published document, Microsoft has told the CMA that it believes a decade is long enough for Sony to create alternatives to Call of Duty.
Gamerant reported that while many gaming studios support Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it’s only natural that the company’s biggest rival wouldn’t be so keen on accepting it. Over the past months, Sony has come up with a whole slew of reasons why the deal should not go through without major changes to, for example, Activision Blizzard’s held IP rights, and Call of Duty is at the center of it all.
According to Gamerant, Microsoft just released a fairly heavily redacted response to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority on the topic of whether Activision Blizzard should keep Call of Duty, in the event that the acquisition gets greenlit by all the pertinent authorities. One of the most interesting comments Microsoft issued via this document is that the company believes Sony would be more than capable of producing a solid alternative to the Call of Duty franchise over the course of the next ten years.
From the document:
“Microsoft’s proposal is that the remedy will apply for a period of 10 years.
“At the Remedies Hearing the CMA asked Microsoft if the 10-year duration is sufficient and whether there would be a “cliff edge” for Sony at the end of this period. The 10-year period is [redacted]. Microsoft considers that a period of 10 years is sufficient for Sony, as a leading publisher and console platform, to develop alternatives to CoD. The 10-year term will extend into the next console generation [redacted]. Moreover, the practical effect of the remedy will go beyond the 10-year period, since games downloaded in the final year of the remedy can continue to be played for the lifetime of that console (and beyond, with backwards compatibility).”
GameRant also reported that this information should be considered with additional context, of course. Specifically, Microsoft offered Sony a 10-year CoD deal, during which time the franchise would remain available on PlayStation consoles. Sony did not accept it, however, and continued issuing statements in an attempt to put the deal in a negative light with authorities.
The aforementioned document has come as a response to the CMA’s latest Remedies Hearing, where the regulator asked for Microsoft’s input on a number of issues concerning the Activision Blizzard deal.
Sony argues that Xbox’s Call of Duty offer would “irreparably harm competition” in the grand scheme of things.
In my opinion, the best thing that can happen is for the regulators to decide in favor of Microsoft. There are already some games made by Blizzard on Xbox, including the Diablo IV Early Access Beta Weekend, and the upcoming Diablo IV Open Beta. Those same betas appear to be available on PlayStation as well.