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Sony Agrees to Microsoft’s Call of Duty Deal

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan kicked, screamed, and called one form of the deal inadequate, but it has now been signed. Microsoft and Sony have come to an agreement over the Call of Duty franchise, confirming the popular shooter series will continue to be on PlayStation.

The Sony and Microsoft Call of Duty deal spans a decade

Xbox CEO Phil Spencer tweeted out the deal, explaining that the two entities have signed a “binding agreement” to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation after the Activision acquisition goes through, which is inching closer to completion with each passing day. Spencer did not specify if this was the same 10-year agreement that Nintendo and other cloud services have signed. Sony, however, confirmed to Axios that the deal was indeed for 10 years.

President of Microsoft Brad Smith also commented on the deal, saying that it has been Microsoft’s commitment since day one to address concerns of “regulators, platform and game developers, and consumers.” He also noted that Microsoft “will remain focused on ensuring that Call of Duty remains available on more platforms and for more consumers than ever before.”

This comes after a long public and private squabble between Sony and Microsoft. Sony had said that it feared that Microsoft could purposely tarnish the PlayStation version of Call of Duty. Ryan, as stated previously, also called one of the earlier versions of the deal that wasn’t as specific “inadequate on many levels.”

This was just after he had an email exchange with Spencer, as revealed by emails shown at the trial, after Spencer sent Ryan a list of games that would continue to appear on PlayStation. Ryan said it was “not a meaningful list” since it listed a “particular selection of older titles.” That Call of Duty deal was then extended to 10 years, but Sony didn’t bite. He even said in a previous hearing that he didn’t want a new Call of Duty deal, but just wanted to sink the acquisition.

But one of Ryan’s private emails that came out during the recent trial somewhat went against what he had been saying publicly, as he stated that he was “pretty sure we will continue to see Call of Duty on PlayStation for many years to come.” Spencer also said under oath during the trial Call of Duty would continue to appear on PlayStation, something he had previously said when not under oath.

“I would raise my hand,” said Spencer. “I will do whatever it takes. We have no plan. I’m making a commitment standing here that we will not pull Call of Duty — it is my testimony — from PlayStation. Sony obviously has to allow us to ship the game on their platform. But absent any of that, my commitment is, and my testimony is that we will continue to ship future versions of Call of Duty on Sony’s PlayStation 5.”

The specificity of saying “PlayStation 5” might have been a slip up and not some rug pull where future Call of Duty titles don’t come to PlayStation 6, as the newest Spencer tweet about the deal just generally says “PlayStation.”

It seems very likely that the Activision acquisition will go through, as a United States judge ruled in favor of Microsoft against the Federal Trade Commission, which may have prompted Sony to finally fold and come to an agreement around Call of Duty. However, it still has to contend with the Competition and Markets Authority and its concerns over cloud gaming. Complications from that could delay the deal or alter in some regions.

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