A new report from Reuters states that Microsoft will be offering Sony a potential concession of a 10-year Call of Duty licensing deal to push the Activision Blizzard merger through. This is according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. If this sounds similar, it’s because The New York Times reported on November 11 that Microsoft had made the same offer to Sony earlier this month.
Sony may not accept the 10-year licensing deal concession
While the Reuters article doesn’t specify that the 10-year licensing deal would be for the Call of Duty franchise (as it could have been for all Activision Blizzard games as a whole), Game Developer reports that it is. This would follow the original report from The New York Times as well. Xbox boss Phil Spencer said on November 15 that it would be willing to commit to releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles for a “longer term” to appease regulators.
The regulator in question this time around is the European Commission, which started its investigation into the Microsoft Activision merger at the beginning of November. The agency has a deadline of January 2024 to offer a formal list of competition concerns in the form of a a statement of objection. Microsoft’s concession of a 10-year licensing deal is meant to be a pre-emptive strike on this statement of objection to shorten the regulatory process as much as possible.
However, there’s not yet word if Sony would be willing to accept the concession in the first place, given that the company has welcomed investigations into the merger in the past. Also, if Sony were to accept the deal, once the 10-year contract is over, there’s no guarantee that it will be renewed or if it will even be offered again.