It’s been quite a dramatic time in the land of games, as Microsoft’s industry-shaking acquisition of Activision Blizzard comes into sharp focus. Announced earlier this year, armchair analysts are debating how much the proposed deal will affect the company’s competitors; Will franchises like Call of Duty become Xbox exclusives? Can Sony operate without a long-standing relationship with a publisher? Some more recent details are beginning to answer such questions.
Earlier this month, the UK government said it would investigate the acquisition further, as its initial findings questioned how it could harm competitors. In response, Xbox head Phil Spencer reiterated the company’s intention to keep Call of Duty multi-platform. To go into more detail, he released a statement about an agreement between Microsoft and Sony, ensuring that the ever-popular franchise will remain on the PlayStation for “at least several more years.”
This seemed to satisfy most fans, but the statement backfired somewhat. PlayStation boss Jim Ryan was quick to issue his own statement, providing his perspective on the situation. He called the offer, which apparently promises Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms for three more years beyond the current contract, “inadequate on several levels”. Assuming the acquisition ultimately goes through, Microsoft’s proposal would mean that, in a few years, Call of Duty would actually become a console exclusive series.
Ryan’s complaints are certainly understandable. The platform holder has partnered with FPS franchises for years to secure PlayStation-adjacent marketing and exclusive content, so Microsoft likely has reason to worry — all of this away — from Sony and PlayStation users. On the other hand, if the deal really closes, Activision Blizzard and all of its games will become Microsoft’s property, and it can do whatever it likes. It’s big, dirty business, but it’s still just business. Sony certainly isn’t innocent of making big acquisitions – it’s been buying studios all year, most notably Bungie – but you could argue that having ActiBlizz in MS’s back pocket won’t do anything.
Whatever you think about this industry drama, we want to hear it. What are your thoughts on the controversial Call of Duty “deal”? Is Jim Ryan right to call this into question? Does Microsoft owe Sony anything? Does anyone matter in the end? Will you miss CoD if it finally leaves the PlayStation? Give your opinion in the comment section below.
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