Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0

Sony accused of lying to European regulators over Microsoft Activision deal

What do you want to know

  • Microsoft’s Frank X. Shaw claimed that Sony recently lied to European Union (EU) regulators about its pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
  • Specifically, Shaw says Sony told the EU that Microsoft was unwilling to offer the PlayStation maker parity with Call of Duty, despite Microsoft previously offering a 10-year deal.
  • Microsoft continues to claim that it wants to bring games to more people, not fewer, and that making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox would “defy business logic”.

As Microsoft’s planned $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard continues to draw intense scrutiny from regulators, the company has claimed that Sony – the producer of PlayStation and one of the biggest opponents of the deal – recently lied to the European Union (EU) about its plans for Call of Duty. While Microsoft has publicly pledged to keep the popular first-person shooter franchise on PlayStation once the merger is complete, the company says Sony has suggested otherwise to Brussels officials. The news comes as the EU reportedly intends to serve Microsoft with an antitrust warning over the deal.

“I hear Sony is telling people in Brussels that Microsoft is not willing to give them parity for Call of Duty if we acquire Activision. Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. he adds. wrote Frank X. Shaw, vice president of communications at Microsoft. “We’ve been clear that we’ve offered Sony a 10-year contract to give them parity on timing, content, features, quality, playability and every other aspect of the game. We also said that we were happy to make this enforceable through contract, regulatory agreements or other means.”

Call of Duty, a series that frequently hosts countless players and hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, is undoubtedly one of the biggest entertainment franchises in the world. Microsoft initially offered Sony terms to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for three years after it completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which CEO Jim Ryan called “inadequate” in a statement. Following this, Microsoft offered Sony a 10-year deal, with the two companies meeting to discuss specific details. The full outcome of those talks remains unknown, but based on Shaw’s public statements, it appears an agreement has not been reached.

(Image credit: Activision)

Microsoft has repeatedly asserted that making Call of Duty exclusive to its Xbox consoles would not be in line with its plans, with Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer stating that Microsoft primarily acquires Activision Blizzard for its dominant position in mobile gaming and that the company “wants to be where the gamers are, especially with franchises the size of Minecraft and Call of Duty.” In an op-ed, Microsoft President Brad Smith also wrote that making Call of Duty exclusive would be “economically irrational” because “a critical portion of Activision Blizzard’s ‘Call of Duty’ revenue comes from PlayStation game sales” . Shaw reiterates these arguments in his own comments.

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