Microsoft has reportedly offered Sony a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation

A hot potato: Microsoft is desperate to close this multi-billion dollar deal with Activision Blizzard King ( Activision for short). Not only has the acquisition moved past the point it was supposed to be complete, but it has also prompted intense testing from regulators, who are threatening to shut it down unless Microsoft divests part of its business. This prompted several promises from Redmond executives, the latest of which is to offer Sony a 10-year contract on Call of Duty.

Virtually since the announcement of Microsoft’s $69 billion deal to acquire Activision, Sony has protested to regulators against the acquisition. He’s always framed his argument by using the company’s best-selling franchise, Call of Duty, to paint a picture where no one other than Microsoft will ever see another CoD game if the deal goes through.

Microsoft has always denied that it would sequester the popular game series in the Xbox wall. He continues to state that he fully intends to honor all agreements made before the purchase was announced. Sony continues to press the issue, however, and regulators are stepping up investigations into the deal.

In the latest development, Microsoft said it offered Sony an iron-clad 10-year deal earlier this month to continue publishing CoD games for the PlayStation. Although Sony has not commented on this claim, Microsoft chairman Brad Smith told The New York Times that the merger depends on a lot. If he fails, it will leave a big question mark over whether the companies can mutually benefit from acquisitions in the coming years.

Here’s a quick list of the concessions Microsoft has agreed to if regulators allow it to buy Activision:

  • To honor previous development agreements entered into by Activision
  • Propose to keep CoD on PlayStation for three years beyond those deals
  • Remain neutral in union negotiations at Activision and Blizzard
  • Pay Activision $3 billion if acquisition fails
  • Guaranteed to continue producing CoD games on PlayStation for at least 10 years

“If this deal had happened four years ago, it wouldn’t mean much,” Smith said. “If someone can’t do something easy, then we all know you can’t do something difficult.”

Microsoft must convince regulators in 16 countries that the acquisition is good for the consumer. So far, only Brazil and Saudi Arabia have given the green light. Serbia is also expected to give its approval soon. However, other countries, notably the US, the UK and the EU, have only intensified their scrutiny of the deal.

Smith believes the deal with Activision is key to continued growth. Microsoft’s gaming division has become a large part of its revenue stream, with Xbox earning over $15 billion a year. The Redmond tech giant is so invested in the pickup that it has pledged $3 billion to Activision even if the merger falls through.

Microsoft’s official position on how the deal affects consumers is that it opens the door for even more gamers to play games regardless of their platform of choice. Of course, that glosses over the fact that it refers to cloud gaming with a Game Pass subscription, which is certainly in Microsoft’s best interest.

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