Microsoft says it offered Sony a decade-long guarantee to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has told us about a billion times that, should Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard go through, he wants to continue releasing Call of Duty games on PlayStation for as long as possible. Most recently, he said he’d be willing to sign a long-term contract promising exactly that to assuage the concerns of regulators who might block the acqusition.
Now, thanks to a new report from the New York Times, we can put some hard numbers on what such an arrangement might look like. A Microsoft representative told the Times that on November 11th it offered a Sony a deal that would legally guarantee Call of Duty releases on PlayStation for the next 10 years.
It’s worth noting that, if you take Spencer at his word, the decade-long agreement would be a legal minimum, not the actual amount of time Microsoft would plan to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Spencer’s public comments have included much lengthier commitments. He’s pledged not to yank the rug out from under the “PlayStation 7.” He’s said he wants to put Call of Duty on PlayStation “for as long as there’s a PlayStation.” He’s clarified that he wouldn’t force Sony to offer Game Pass on its platform as a precondition and ruled out similar loopholes.
Still, Sony has maintained a steady, public opposition to the deal, and it’s unclear whether this November 11th offer has changed anything. (The company declined to comment to the Times on the proposition.) Nor is it certain if it’ll be enough to assure the regulatory bodies standing in the way of the acquisition, like the European Commission and the U.K. Competition and Markets authority, to sign off on Microsoft owning Call of Duty.
The latest game in the series, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, is out now on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.