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Microsoft Says It Has Offered Sony A 10-year Deal On New Call Of Duty Games

Microsoft’s new Call of Duty offer comes after weeks of regulatory pressure over its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

If its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition goes through, Microsoft has offered Sony a 10-year contract to make future Call of Duty games available on PlayStation. In an op-ed published today in The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft president Brad Smith confirmed the deal, noting that “Sony has emerged as the loudest objector” to Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition and that “it’s as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix.”

“We’ve offered Sony a 10-year contract to make every new ‘Call of Duty’ release available on PlayStation the same day it is available on Xbox,” Smith says. “We’re willing to extend the same commitment to other platforms and make it legally enforceable by regulators in the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union.”

Microsoft’s new offer is intended to appease regulators as well as Sony

Such a concession has been suggested in recent weeks, with The New York Times reporting on November 11th that Microsoft made the offer to Sony. In a recent Verge interview, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer hinted that he would be happy to “make a longer-term commitment that Sony would be comfortable with.”

According to The Verge, Spencer made a written commitment to PlayStation head Jim Ryan earlier this year to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for “several more years” beyond Sony’s current marketing deal with Activision. That letter was sent shortly after Spencer publicly stated Microsoft’s “intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.”

Sony called Microsoft’s offer “inadequate on many levels,” sparking a debate about whether Microsoft wanted to lock down Call of Duty after a few years. Spencer then put an end to the debate last month.

Microsoft’s latest offer to Sony comes as the company faces increased regulatory scrutiny as a result of its Activision Blizzard acquisition. The EU has launched an extensive investigation, and reports indicate that the Federal Trade Commission is preparing a legal challenge to prevent the deal from going forward.

In September, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) signaled a closer look at the deal, prompting Microsoft to plead for its Activision deal before dismissing the CMA’s concerns as “misplaced” and accusing the regulator of adopting “Sony’s complaints without considering the potential harm to consumers.”

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