In an article that looked to recap the ongoing saga of Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition, The New York Times purported that Microsoft has now sent a sweeter deal to PlayStation, supposedly committing to keep Call of Duty on its console for ten years.
PlayStation CEO, Jim Ryan, revealed a couple of months ago that PlayStation had been promised only three extra years of Call of Duty, which he deemed "inadequate". This most recent offer, which reportedly took place on November 11, was most likely brought forth by Microsoft to help relieve the ongoing pressure that regulators keep putting on the pending acquisition.
Most recently, during a podcast, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer confirmed as candidly as he could that Microsoft plans to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation indefinitely. He stated there were no caveats, and "nothing hidden." He affirmed that this would be a native version of Call of Duty, same as on Xbox, not dependent on cloud streaming nor on PlayStation having to put Game Pass on its platform. He went as far as to say that, just like Modern Warfare 2 was doing great on PlayStation, it could be the same with "the next game, the next next game, the next next next next..."
Spencer did express, however, that Xbox wasn't going to make any sort of legal binding to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation forever. He stated that writing a contract with the word 'forever' was "a bit silly," but he did contend that Xbox was willing to make a longer-term commitment, which is what we're seeing here with this 10-year offer. It's unclear if PlayStation will now play nice with this deal, or if it will continue to put pressure on regulators to stop the acquisition from going through.
The UK and EU regulators in particular have been heavily scrutinizing the deal, both moving to more in-depth investigations following their initial assessment. A lot of their concerns focus on Microsoft's potential dominance in the game subscription and cloud streaming markets, but some also contend that an exclusive Call of Duty could hinder PlayStation's ability to compete.
Despite Xbox's claims, regulators have pointed out that, following Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda, some of its games were slated to be exclusive, such as Starfieldand Redfall, so the same could happen with Call of Duty. Microsoft retaliated with the fact that after its acquisition of Mojang, Minecraft has since remained multi-platform. Hopefully, for Microsoft, Xbox, and Activision, this 10-year Call of Duty commitment puts regulators at ease.