Microsoft’s journey to acquiring Activision is troubled. One of the main things it has to address in order to gain the approval of the different regulators across the globe is to ensure that the deal won’t harm the competition within the gaming market. The first step the tech giant tech has taken is by promising Sony that it will keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for some years after its deal with Activision is over. The catch? Microsoft meant only three years, and Sony isn’t happy about it.
“I hadn’t intended to comment on what I understood to be a private business discussion, but I feel the need to set the record straight because Phil Spencer brought this into the public forum,” PlayStation chief Jim Ryan told Games Industry.biz. “Microsoft has only offered for Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement between Activision and Sony ends. After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers. We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality Call of Duty experience, and Microsoft’s proposal undermines this principle.”
Microsoft is trying to neutralize the situation, with its Gaming CEO Phil Spencer even saying that the offer “goes well beyond typical gaming industry agreements.” Apparently, it is a vague promise to offer Sony, which is hoping to offer the famous, well-loved first-person shooter video game franchise to its players for the next decades to come… not just three more years.
The step is not helping Microsoft prove that it means no harm to its competitors once the acquisition of Activision is finalized. And it isn’t just a threat for Sony but also to its customers greatly patronizing the game on their PlayStation. Once the three-year extension of Microsoft has ended, there will be fewer options as to where these individuals can play the franchise. And it’s getting nearer. According to reports, if the pieces of news about the timeline of Sony’s agreement with Activision are to follow, Call of Duty will only be available on PlayStation until 2027.
Recently, UK’s antitrust regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, expressed concern about the deal between Activision and Microsoft. This scenario is one of the things it stressed in its statement, saying that it fears the possibility of Sony being refused access to new Call of Duty games, which translates to an unbalanced competition between game companies in the market. And with these things happening now, getting the approval of the competition watchdogs will just be more challenging for Microsoft.