Sony and Microsoft find common ground in Activision Blizzard bid

17 Jul 2023

Image: © Carlos/

Microsoft has managed to reach a deal with one of the loudest objectors to the Activision Blizzard acquisition, which remains under threat from regulators.

Microsoft has agreed to keep the Call of Duty franchise available on Sony’s Playstation after the Activision Blizzard deal is complete, in a move that will likely ease regulator concerns.

The two companies have entered a “binding agreement” to keep the popular gaming franchise available on the Playstation. It is being reported that this is a 10-year deal and follows a similar deal made with Nintendo at the end of 2022.

The agreement was announced by Microsoft gaming CEO Phil Spencer, who said players globally will have “more choice to play their favourite games” in the future.

Last December, Microsoft entered a 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to rival console Nintendo, in a bid to ease competition concerns. At the time, Microsoft president Brad Smith tweeted that the company would be “happy to hammer out a 10-year deal for PlayStation as well”.

Microsoft shocked the global gaming world in January 2022 when it announced plans to snap up video game publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7bn – the biggest gaming acquisition ever recorded. Activision is the publisher behind the popular Call of Duty franchise.

However, the acquisition has been hit with multiple regulatory hurdles since then, getting blocked by regulators in the US and the UK due to concerns it could stifle competition in the global gaming market.

But the deal has scored some victories in the regulatory arena, as the EU approved the massive acquisition in May, following an in-depth review. The US Federal Trade Commission blocked the deal earlier this year, but a federal judge ruled that it could proceed.

Sony was previously described by Smith as one of the acquisitions’ loudest objectors, so the latest deal is another win for Microsoft.

The journey isn’t over however, as the FTC has asked a US appeals court to block the deal from going ahead.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is also investigating the proposed deal and has extended the timeline for its final decision to 29 August.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic