Microsoft has offered Sony a 10-year contract to make each new Call of Duty release available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox, according to an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on Monday from a Microsoft executive. Sony’s gaming chief Jim Ryan said in September that Microsoft’s earlier offer to keep the popular game series made by Activision Blizzard on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement expires was inadequate.
Xbox maker Microsoft’s latest offer to Sony comes as it faces increased regulatory scrutiny over its $69 billion (roughly Rs. 5,67,500 crore) buyout deal for Activision Blizzard.
The offer, made in January, has attracted regulatory headwinds in the European Union, Britain and in the US, with Sony criticising the deal and even calling for a regulatory veto.
Last month, EU regulators opened a full-scale investigation into Microsoft’s deal and warned about the impact of the deal. “The Commission’s preliminary investigation shows that the transaction may significantly reduce competition on the markets for the distribution of console and PC video games, including multigame subscription services and/or cloud game streaming services, and for PC operating systems,” the European Commission said in a statement at the time.
The deadline for the European Commission, which is investigating the deal, to set out a formal list of competition concerns known as a statement of objection is in January. Offering remedies before such a document is issued could shorten the regulatory process.
Reuters reported last month that Microsoft’s remedy would consist mainly of a 10-year licensing deal to PlayStation owner Sony.
The deal has been cleared unconditionally in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Serbia.
“The main supposed potential anticompetitive risk Sony raises is that Microsoft would stop making Call of Duty available on the PlayStation. But that would be economically irrational,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said in the WSJ opinion piece.
Microsoft also said on Monday it was raising the prices of new Xbox games to $70 (roughly Rs. 5,000) from $60 (roughly Rs. 4,000) starting in 2023, according to a company spokesperson.
© Thomson Reuters 2022