And in a statement to The Verge, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Microsoft had committed to making the series available on PlayStation for “several more years” after Sony’s current marketing deal with Activision expires.
“In January, we provided a signed agreement to Sony to guarantee Call of Duty on PlayStation, with feature and content parity, for at least several more years beyond the current Sony contract, an offer that goes well beyond typical gaming industry agreements,” said Microsoft’s gaming chief.
Bloomberg sources said to be familiar with Activision’s plans claimed in January that the publisher was contractually obliged to releasing at least the next three Call of Duty games for PlayStation consoles.
Microsoft’s deal to acquire Activision Blizzard is currently being scrutinised by regulators concerned about potential antitrust issues during a time of increasing consolidation in the gaming industry.
Last week, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said its inquiry into the merger may be expanded due to outstanding concerns, most notably the impact the deal could have on Sony‘s ability to compete.
“PlayStation currently has a larger share of the console gaming market than Xbox, but the CMA considers that Call of Duty is sufficiently important that losing access to it (or losing access on competitive terms) could significantly impact Sony’s revenues and user base,” it said.
“This impact is likely to be felt especially at the launch of the next generation of consoles, where gamers make fresh decisions about which console to buy. The CMA believes that the Merger could, therefore, significantly weaken Microsoft’s closest rival, to the detriment of overall competition in console gaming.”
The CMA said Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have until September 8 to submit proposals addressing its concerns, and that if suitable proposals are not received then the deal will be referred for further investigation.