The biggest news story of the last 24 hours is easily the decision by Microsoft to make agreements with key publishers to put Call of Duty on their systems for the next ten years should they get the purchase of Activision Blizzard to go through. The publishers that agreed to the deal were Nintendo and Steam, with Sony having yet to agree to any such contract as of now. But while many are intrigued by the deal, some are wondering why this specific deal was made in the first place. It seems like a specific intention was the deal’s focus, and many think it was because of the FTC.
If you haven’t heard by now, the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard hasn’t gotten approved in full yet because of Sony. They started raising a stink. Specifically, Jim Ryan started to make noise, and that got the attention of certain regulatory bodies. The biggest one was the FTC or the Federal Trade Commission. They seemed to share Sony’s beliefs that it would be “illogical” for Microsoft not to make Call of Duty and the other franchises that Activision Blizzard owns exclusive to the Xbox line of consoles and PC via services they own. One insider notes that the deal is coming before Microsoft speaks before an FTC panel.
So the timing is a bit intentional, but that’s not a bad thing, per se. After all, Microsoft has been saying for a long time that they wouldn’t make the franchises they would get exclusive to their platforms. Instead, they said they were more than happy to share them for everyone to enjoy and play. Sony and the FTC kept saying that these were “just words” and were getting ready for action. But now, Microsoft has put its money where its mouth is and has shown definitively that they are willing to keep things multi-platform.
We will grant you that the agreement currently is for only one franchise. The other franchises that Activision Blizzard owns are up for debate still. But it was Sony who stated Call of Duty was the franchise that Microsoft most likely would go exclusive with. So by making a deal with Nintendo and Steam, the Xbox team proved them wrong. The agreements are signed, so if the merger goes through, they start taking effect.
The FTC is allegedly going to rule on things soon, so stay tuned.