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Microsoft has reportedly offered Sony the rights to Call of Duty on PS Plus

Microsoft has reportedly offered Sony the rights to add Call of Duty to its PS Plus subscription service, should its bid to purchase Activision Blizzard succeed.

According to a report by Bloomberg (via Video Games Chronicle), this new offer, which would bring the award-winning action shooter to the PlayStation Plus service, has been made on top of an as-yet not accepted deal to keep the Call of Duty franchise on PlayStation consoles for 10 years post-acquisition. According to Bloomberg, Sony has not yet accepted this new offer. 

This alleged offer presents the latest in a series of efforts made by the Xbox Series X│S parent company to appease Sony, as well as calm the skeptical regulators that have pushed back against the $68.7 billion acquisition offer. Microsoft first proposed it in January 2022, and since then it has seen backlash and critical scrutiny from international regulatory bodies and watchdogs.

Most recently, Microsoft was served a lawsuit by the US Federal Trade Committee (FTC), which seeks to block the proposed acquisition. It is the most significant obstacle faced by the company in its attempts to purchase Activision Blizzard and its in-house titles, despite Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s repeated insistence that the acquisition would be “in the best interest of gamers”

Compromise is key 

Call of Duty: Modern warfare 2

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

One of the main concerns raised by both Sony itself and the FTC is that by merging with Activision Blizzard, Microsoft might end up harming the gaming industry by negatively impacting its competitor’s ability to do business. The major example purported by Sony is that flagship Activision titles, like Call of Duty, might be pulled from the PS5 and made into first-party Xbox exclusives. An example is how upcoming Bethesda titles Starfield and Redfall have been confirmed as exclusive titles since Microsoft bought the studio’s parent company, ZeniMax, in 2021.

Tensions have seemingly been rising between Microsoft and Sony in recent weeks, with Phil Spencer saying in an interview with the podcast Second Request that Sony’s opposition to the acquisition is due to the company “trying to protect their dominance on console, and the way they grow is by making Xbox smaller.”

“Because Sony’s leading all of the dialogue around why this deal shouldn’t go through, the thing they grab onto is Call of Duty,” Spencer said during the interview, commenting on the singling out of the Call of Duty franchise as a major argument in opposing the merger.

By promising Sony that it can offer Call of Duty games on its PS Plus subscription service, Microsoft is doubling down on its efforts to convince naysayers that the proposed acquisition will benefit gamers rather than hinder them and that it can be trusted not to deprive Activision’s existing player base of one of the most popular FPS franchises of all time. Nintendo has already accepted a 10-year deal offered by Microsoft that guarantees Call of Duty will land on Nintendo Switch if the deal goes through. Even though an identical offer has been made to Sony, it has not yet been accepted.

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