Microsoft CEO Phil Spencer took to Twitter on 16 July to announce that Microsoft Corp. and Sony PlayStation have signed a “binding agreement” to keep the Call of Duty franchise on PlayStation. The announcement came as a relief for gamers concerned about the popular game franchise becoming exclusive to Xbox after Microsoft’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc.
Announcing the agreement on Twitter, Spencer added, “We look forward to a future where players globally have more choice to play their favorite games.” This commitment is for 10 years, similar to Microsoft’s 10-year deal with Nintendo in February, according to Reuters.
In January 2022, Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Activision to improve its standing in the booming video gaming market and establish a foundation for its investment in the metaverse and virtual reality. This acquisition is one of the largest-ever gaming deals and if it goes through, it gives Microsoft’s Xbox publishing controls over several popular video games including the lucrative Call of Duty franchise.
Fans of the video game have expressed concerns about the future of the franchise if the deal goes through as the game is currently available on Sony PlayStation. One of the primary concerns, which even Sony, Microsoft’s primary competitor in the video-gaming market, has expressed is the possibility of Microsoft making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox, as reported by The Verge.
Sony has previously attempted to block the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, according to Reuters. With the acquisition, Microsoft would become the third biggest company in the gaming industry, in terms of revenue, following Tencent and Sony.
Currently, the main hurdle regarding the acquisition is from the UK Competition and Markets Authority, which has agreed to give Microsoft another chance to come up with a solution after vetoing the merger in April based on its concerns about the deal’s impact on the cloud gaming market, as reported by Reuters.
Cloud gaming is a kind of online gaming wherein video games run on remote servers and streams and these can be directly accessed from the player’s device. It is also known as gaming on demand. Notably, cloud streaming has been touted as the future of gaming.