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Judge Calls Microsoft’s Call of Duty Deal Bad for Sony, But ‘Good for Call of Duty Gamers’

There are winners and losers in every case, and the recent trial between Microsoft and the Federal Trade Commission is no different. Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s ruling in favor of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard states that, while Microsoft’s future plans for the Call of Duty franchise may be bad for Sony, they’re good for gamers.

Judge Corley cites Sony’s payments for Call of Duty’s exclusive marketing rights

As first reported on Twitter by The Verge senior editor Tom Warren, Judge Corley’s ruling against the FTC claims that Microsoft’s Call of Duty deal will be good for gamers. Citing Sony’s history of paying for exclusive marketing rights for Call of Duty titles, Judge Corley states that the deal will allow gamers to “utilize the cloud to play on the device of choice, including, it is intended, on the Nintendo Switch. Perhaps bad for Sony. But good for Call of Duty gamers and future gamers.” As part of its efforts to acquire Activision Blizzard, Microsoft announced in February that it signed a binding 10-year contract to bring the Call of Duty franchise and other Xbox titles to Nintendo’s consoles.

Warren notes that Judge Corley’s ruling echoes statements by the European Unions’ antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestrager. In a speech following the European Union’s May decision in favor of the Activision Blizzard acquisition, Vestager claimed the deal would have “significant procompetitive effects.” Both judges’ decisions stand in stark contrast to the somewhat outlandish claims from Sony during the case alleging that Microsoft might make future Call of Duty games buggy on PS5 and PS4. Sony had also objected to an offer from Microsoft to keep the Call of Duty franchise on PlayStation for the near future, claiming the deal would “irreparably harm competition.”

Now that Microsoft has won its case against the FTC it will have to abide by the terms of the agreements made about Call of Duty’s future. This means that not only will the Call of Duty franchise be available on PlayStation for at least the next decade, but also on the Nintendo Switch and cloud services for the first time. While this certainly isn’t the outcome Sony was hoping for, it may well be the best one possible for Call of Duty fans.

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