Following a recent decision by a US judge to reject the Federal Trade Commission’s request to block Microsoft’s acquisition of games publisher Activision Blizzard, Sony and Microsoft have announced a binding agreement to ensure the continuity of Call of Duty on the PlayStation gaming platform. This development brings an end to the prolonged battle between the two tech giants that ensued since Microsoft’s initial announcement of its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard in early 2022. Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion purchase of Activision would mark the largest acquisition in the history of the gaming industry.
While the US regulator has sought a temporary pause on the deal, citing concerns about reduced competition, Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, who rejected the FTC’s request, expressed doubt about the regulator’s chances of success. In the judge’s decision, she stated that the FTC had not demonstrated that the merged company would likely remove Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation or significantly diminish competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets.
With the European Union already approving the deal and the UK currently reviewing its appeal to block the merger, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has decided to thoroughly evaluate the acquisition, requiring six weeks to assess the complex and detailed submissions from Microsoft. The CMA aims to fulfill its responsibilities as expeditiously as possible, ideally before the end of August.