Xbox has offered PlayStation a 10-year deal for Call of Duty, and Sony declined to comment
What you need to know
- Microsoft is trying to buy Activision-Blizzard for $69 billion.
- Sony is a huge opponent of the deal, going to regulators to speak out against the proposals, often using Call of Duty as a bargaining chip.
- Microsoft said it offered Sony a 10-year deal for Call of Duty, up from the previous 3-year offer.
- Sony has declined to comment.
A new report in the New York Times gives us an update on the ensuing drama between Microsoft and regulators over its $69 billion merger with Activision Blizzard.
Microsoft has been battling with regulators on both sides of the Atlantic to get approval for a massive deal for the creators of Call of Duty, Warcraft, Candy Crush and many other major games. Microsoft said the deal is more about mobile gaming, as Microsoft’s footprint is relatively small in an industry dominated by Chinese giants like Tencent.
Merging with Activision gives Microsoft the tools it needs to bring Xbox gamers and Xbox developers to a whole new audience on phones and tablets. The growing mobile gaming sector has become a dominant force in several major economies, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t also start devouring the relatively stable gaming hardware market in the coming years. To that end, Microsoft is looking to bring titles like Call of Duty Mobile into the fold, while also backing its nascent subscription service Xbox Game Pass with a host of new content, offering games like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 for $10 a month along with hundreds of games. the other, instead of picking up the game for $70, as it currently is.
One of the biggest opponents of the deal is Sony, which is Microsoft’s main competitor in the console space. While most other publishers have generally said little to denounce the deal, rival platform owners like PlayStation and Google have quietly (not so quietly) expressed their “concern” to regulators that Microsoft could end up with too much power in the space if it seeks to shut down games. Like Call of Duty from their platforms. Microsoft responded, noting that it had no plans to at least remove Call of Duty from PlayStation, initially offering Sony a 3-year contract that guaranteed access to the game. PlayStation previously said this wasn’t good enough.
Now, a new report has suggested that Microsoft has not given up on three, but now ten Years of access to Call of Duty. Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s gaming CEO, has also given numerous interviews to confirm that there is no plan to remove or dilute Call of Duty on PlayStation, despite Sony’s claims to the contrary. Sony declined to comment on the report of the 10-year licensing deal while claiming that Microsoft has a “history” of “dominance” in industries while claiming that “gamers’ choices will disappear,” without saying exactly what options they are referring to.
Analytically speaking, I’ve written before about how Sony knows it won’t lose access to the Call of Duty license, since the game’s business model is entirely dependent on it being available literally anywhere and everywhere. Sony is more interested in losing a bargaining chip and value proposition since Call of Duty in Xbox Game Pass at $10 a month totally beats the $70 you have to pay to get the game on PlayStation right now.
The deal has become a focal point of big tech regulation for media commentators and the political zeitgeist, as scrutiny of Facebook’s utter dominance in social media and Google’s total dominance in search algorithms has really reduced competition and a whole host of problems that both companies have had to pay billions of dollars in fines. . Regulators may seek to draw parallels between these positions and the Microsoft-Activision agreement as a result, with Sony exploiting a lack of knowledge of the games industry among lawmakers.
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