After the FTC lost an appeal to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard via a preliminary injunction, the road has been cleared for the long saga of this deal to come to an end. Although it hasn’t been made official (yet), the deal could close as soon as today or tomorrow in advance of the somewhat arbritrary July 18th closing date. There’s also talk that Microsoft and Activision could delay the closing to work out agreements with the UK’s Competition Markets Authority (CMA), which blocked the deal back in April.
However, whenever the deal officially closes, Microsoft is moving forward. Today, via a tweet by Xbox head Phil Spencer, the company announced that it has signed a binding agreement with Sony to keep Call of Duty on Playstation:
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. We look forward to a future where players globally have more choice to play their favorite games.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) July 16, 2023
Microsoft had previously reached a similar agreement with Nintendo to keep Call of Duty on the Switch for 10 years, and signed other smaller similar deals, mainly in an effort to counter claims that Microsoft might make Call of Duty an Xbox/PC exclusive after acquiring parent Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft had made offers to Sony before for a binding agreement on Call of Duty, but Sony resisted as it worked to undermine the acquisition. They seem now to be resigned to Microsoft actually owning Call of Duty, however, and we’ll have to see how much Sony plans to work with Microsoft in the future.