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Xbox v PlayStation: Clash over Call of Duty

Xbox owner Microsoft has hit back at claims its plan to buy the maker of Call of Duty may unfairly affect its rivals, including Sony, which owns PlayStation. Microsoft wants to buy Activision Blizzard, which also makes Overwatch and Candy Crush, for $68.7bn (£59.2bn).

Sony has told the UK’s competition regulator that it believes some Call of Duty players are likely to switch to Xbox, even if the series remains on PlayStation following Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Regulators around the world are currently scrutinizing Microsoft’s proposed acquisition, with the UK’s CMA voicing similar concerns that the deal could harm PlayStation and other game subscription services, should Microsoft make Activision Blizzard content exclusive to its platform.

The UK regulator is seen as the key element as to whether this deal would be allowed to go ahead. The deal did not pass the initial phase of approval, and has been sent to a second phase.

Microsoft responded to the CMA’s decision to expand its inquiry this week that it has “no intention to take Call of Duty away from gamers” and claimed that doing so would “tarnish both the Call of Duty and Xbox brands”.

Despite repeated assurances from Xbox that the Call of Duty series will remain on PlayStation, Sony has been engaged in an increasingly public war of words over the proposed deal, and told press that Microsoft’s offer in regards to the future of CoD was “inadequate on many levels”.

Microsoft said it still hoped the deal would be closed by June 2023.

Competition regulators in Saudi Arabia and Brazil have already approved it.

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