Sony has yet to take them up on the offer
Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been nothing if not messy, and now the newest concession Xbox’s parent company is making is to extend somewhat of an olive branch to Sony in the form of the Call of Duty franchise. More specifically, Microsoft would reportedly allow Sony to put Call of Duty in the PlayStation Plus subscription service for the first time. Bloomberg reports that Sony is yet to take this offer.
The easiest explanation for Microsoft’s sudden change of heart is likely the Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit, which was filed against the company under the suspicion that the acquisition would stifle competition in the games industry. If Microsoft allows their competitor to have more control of one of their most lucrative brands, there’s a chance the ruling will be more in their favor.
What does this mean for the lawsuit?
We’ve already seen this strategy in action with Microsoft entering a 10-year deal to allow PlayStation to keep releasing the Call of Duty series on their platform, and head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced a similar 10-year deal with Nintendo on Xbox last week. It doesn’t seem like Sony is buying it, at the very least, because there’s still concern that Microsoft could make Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive in the future, which would be a huge pull if it came to be.
On top of all of this, Phil Spencer told the Second Request podcast that Sony is trying to grow by “making Xbox smaller,” as they are “the one major opposer to the deal [with Activision Blizzard].” I understand why Spencer would be frustrated, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that Sony is the only opponent to the acquisition. For one thing, a lot of casual fans, as well as those who know more about business, are fairly concerned that Microsoft is exhibiting monopolistic behavior.
All I know for certain is that I, personally, love Call of Duty, and this whole thing makes it feel like a child that’s being used as a bargaining chip in its parents’ divorce.