Microsoft has reached an agreement with Sony to keep the popular Call of Duty video game series on its PlayStation console, moving one step closer to finally concluding the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, made the announcement in a Sunday tweet, saying that they have “signed a binding agreement to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation following the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.”

“We look forward to a future where players globally have more choice to play their favorite games,” he added.

Microsoft has been pursuing the $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard in an effort to expand its presence in the video game market beyond its Xbox platform.

However, the acquisition has faced regulatory scrutiny, particularly from Sony, which was concerned about losing access to the highly sought-after Call of Duty game title.

Activision Blizzard owns the Call of Duty franchise. Sony had argued that the tech giant could make the game exclusive to its Xbox consoles, harming rival companies.

To address these concerns, Microsoft had previously promised to make the game available on other platforms, such as Nintendo’s Switch console and Nvidia’s cloud gaming service, for at least ten years.

Sony’s PlayStation had not been officially included in this list until now.

“From Day One of this acquisition, we’ve been committed to addressing the concerns of regulators, platform and game developers, and consumers,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a tweet, adding:

“Even after we cross the finish line for this deal’s approval, we will remain focused on ensuring that Call of Duty remains available on more platforms and for more consumers than ever before.”

The agreement with Sony marks a significant milestone for Microsoft in its quest to secure regulatory approval for the Activision Blizzard acquisition.

Microsoft is under a time constraint to close the deal by Tuesday to avoid a potential $3 billion termination fee.

US Court Denies FTC’s Bid to Block Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision

In another win for Microsoft, the US appeals court recently denied the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) bid to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The ruling paves the way for the companies to finalize the largest gaming deal ever in the United States.

The only hurdle left is the decision of UK regulators, who have scheduled a hearing on July 17 to discuss the competition agency’s challenge to the deal.

As reported, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in the US District Court for the Northern District of California last month, claiming that the tech giant and Activision plan to consummate the deal without any further notice to the commission.

The agency’s attempt to halt the merger was based on concerns that Microsoft might withhold Activision’s popular games from rival consoles or services.

According to data from August 2022, Sony’s PlayStation 2 sold a whopping 158.7 million units in its lifetime, becoming the best-selling game system overall.

Notably, Microsoft’s best-performer game console ever is Xbox 360, which sold around 86 million units, which is still a far cry compared to the sale of gaming products by Microsoft.

Image Source: Statista

However, there are still worries that Microsoft, if it purchases Activision, could seek to leverage its position to increase its market share by making more popular games exclusive to its Xbox consoles.

It is worth noting that aside from the US, the acquisition has also proved controversial across other jurisdictions.

For instance, the British Competition and Markets Authority has sought to stop the deal.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has now been given a second chance to propose a solution to address these concerns.

It has offered to sell off the cloud-based market rights for games in the UK, Bloomberg reported last week.

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