February 4, 2023

Image for article titled Report: Microsoft Offered Sony Call Of Duty On PlayStation Plus

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Like Microsoft’s attempts to buy beleaguered publisher Activision Blizzard start hitting some serious roadblocksthe software giant is forced to make some concessions in an attempt to close the deal.

One is a series of promises to rival platform holders that, should Microsoft be successful with its purchase, the best-selling Duty series would remain on their systems for the next ten years (at least). The offer went quite well with Valve and was professionally recognized by Nintendobut Sony, Microsoft’s main console rival, is reportedly less than thrilled.

That is understandable on the part of Sony! They have the most to lose if Activision sales continue, and Microsoft knows this, that’s why they’re becoming more and more public – and more and more public – in their frustration with PlayStation.

Part of that frustration can be explained by this new report Bloombergwho says that in addition to promising that Duty games would remain on PlayStation for at least the next decade as standalone titles at retail (as well as arriving on the same day as on other systems), Microsoft also told Sony that the series could be offered on the PlayStation Plus subscription service.

Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service has dramatically changed the video game landscape over the past few years, and loads of people just assumed that posting the Duty series on Xbox’s subscription platform – at the expense of Sony’s – would have been one of the driving forces behind the whole Activision purchase in the first place.

So this report, if true, is certainly a surprise. It’s important to note that this isn’t a recent addition to the pledge, made to sweeten the deal for a reluctant rival; Bloomberg says the Play Station Plus aspect was part of the original 10-year deal that Sony is clearly not happy with (an offer when Microsoft’s original three-year promise was reversed).

The FTC are also not happy with Microsoft’s attempts to buy Activision. Nor the European Union, which has “opened a full-scale investigation” into the proposed deal, say in a statement:

The Commission’s preliminary investigation shows that the Transaction may significantly reduce competition in the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games, including multigame subscription services and/or cloud streaming services for games, and for PC operating systems .

The preliminary investigation suggests that Microsoft has the opportunity, as well as a potential economic stimulus, to employ foreclosure strategies against Microsoft’s rival video game console distributors.

In the United Kingdom, this is now the Competition and Markets Authority also examine the deal, proverb the merger “is expected to result in a substantial reduction of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services.”

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