Microsoft reached a long-term “binding agreement” to offer the juggernaut “Call of Duty” video game franchise on its rival Sony’s PlayStation as its still-pending $69 billion acquisition of the game’s publisher Activision Blizzard inches toward final approval.
The deal’s terms were not disclosed, but a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it will run for 10 years – a move aimed at assuaging regulators’ concerns that Microsoft’s takeover of Activision Blizzard would hurt competition in the video game sector.
“We are pleased to announce that Microsoft and @PlayStation have signed a binding agreement to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation following the acquisition of Activision Blizzard,” Xbox chief Phil Spencer tweeted on Sunday.
“We look forward to a future where players globally have more choice to play their favorite games.”
Microsoft vice chairman Brad Smith also chimed in on the deal.
“From Day One of this acquisition, we’ve been committed to addressing the concerns of regulators, platform and game developers, and consumers,” Smith said. “Even after we cross the finish line for this deal’s approval, we will remain focused on ensuring that Call of Duty remains available on more platforms and for more consumers than ever before.”
Microsoft’s arrangement with Sony was announced just days after a federal court shot down the Federal Trade Commission’s request to block the transaction with a injunction on antitrust grounds.
The FTC had argued the Xbox parent would limit rival platforms’ access to “Call of Duty” and other popular franchises if the deal was allowed to proceed.
A federal appeals court also rejected the FTC’s bid to pause the acquisition.
Microsoft has previously inked a similar 10-year deal to keep “Call of Duty” on Nintendo platforms.
At the time of the deal, which was announced in February, Smith similarly said it was “just part of our commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles” to “more players on more platforms.”
Microsoft is still seeking final approval for the $69 billion purchase in the United Kingdom, where an antitrust watchdog agency already blocked the deal in April, but allowed the company to explore potential remedies.
On Monday, Microsoft asked a London tribunal to pause its appeal to give the parties more time to resolve the dispute.
Britain’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), in April became the first major regulator to block the acquisition of the “Call of Duty” maker, citing concerns about the impact on competition in cloud gaming.
Microsoft’s lawyers said in court filings that the CMA is “the critical impediment” to closing the deal and pausing the case would allow all sides to try and find a solution.
Microsoft has reportedly signaled it could sell off part of its cloud-gaming business in the UK to help address the concerns, according to Bloomberg.
With Post wires
Source by [New York Post]