Call of Duty remains the key factor in deal completion
According to global news conglomerate Reuters, the European Commission is considered likely to approve the acquisition of publisher Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. The regulatory body held a hearing over the stalemate sale last week, where Microsoft pleaded its case for the $69 billion purchase.
Citing anonymous sources, Reuters reports that the EU commission is satisfied with Microsoft’s promise to leave Activision’s military shooter franchise Call of Duty as a multiplatform IP, rather than make the billion-dollar series an exclusive for Microsoft’s own Xbox platform. While there are many factors pertaining to the sale — from a company, franchise, division, and employee standpoint — Call of Duty and its future remains one of the key elements on which the entire purchase rests.
“[Microsoft is] committed to offering effective and easily enforceable solutions that address the European Commission’s concerns,” said the publisher in comments to Reuters. “Our commitment to grant long-term 100% equal access to Call of Duty to Sony, Steam, NVIDIA, and others preserves the deal’s benefits to gamers and developers and increases competition in the market.”
Regardless of the EU’s final decision, which must be disclosed before April 25, 2023, Microsoft still has to face down a lawsuit from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which is scheduled to go to trial this summer. The losing party will also have the right to appeal, essentially setting the tone for a long and extremely drawn-out process before the acquisition is finally settled, one way or another.
Exclusive: Microsoft set to win EU nod on Activision with licensing offer, sources say [Reuters]