Microsoft promises to keep ‘Call of Duty’ on Sony PlayStation after Activision merger closes

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Call of Duty

Visitors passing an advertisement for the video game ‘Call of Duty’ at the Gamescom fair for computer games in Cologne, Germany, Aug. 22, 2017.

AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File

Microsoft has signed an agreement with Sony to keep the Call of Duty video game series on the PlayStation console after the tech giant acquires video game maker Activision Blizzard.

The announcement was made Sunday in a Twitter post by Phil Spencer, who heads up Microsoft’s Xbox division.

“We look forward to a future where players globally have more choice to play their favorite games,” Spencer said in the post.

Call of Duty has been at the center of a corporate tug-of-war between Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation over Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard, which makes the best-selling Call of Duty lineup.

As it tried to persuade regulators around the world to approved the deal, Microsoft pledged that Call of Duty would appear on Nintendo’s Switch console, Nvidia’s cloud gaming service and other platforms for at least a decade. Until now, Sony hadn’t been officially part of that list.

A U.S. appeals court on Friday rejected a bid by federal regulators to block Microsoft’s acquisition.

Microsoft struck the deal for Activision in January of 2022 in hopes of expanding its video game imprint beyond Xbox, which has less market share than longtime industry leader Sony and its PlayStation device. The company has been seeking regulatory approval in the U.S. and aboard over the past few months, but it’s been trailed by objections from Sony, which feared losing access to what it describes as a “must-have” game title.

Sony did not immediately reply to a request for comment Sunday. And Microsoft did not disclose the duration of the deal.

“From Day One of this acquisition, we’ve been committed to addressing the concerns of regulators, platform and game developers, and consumers,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a tweet. “Even after we cross the finish line for this deal’s approval, we will remain focused on ensuring that Call of Duty remains available on more platforms and for more consumers than ever before.”

Microsoft has also signed agreements with Nintendo and chipmaker Nvidia to relieve some of the regulatory pressure over the sale, which it must close by Tuesday to avoid a potential $3 billion termination fee.

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