Microsoft is still dead set on not selling Call of Duty, but to seek EU antitrust approval for its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it is prepared to offer licensing deals to its rivals.
According to Reuters, in a European Commission filing shown today (Friday, March 17), Microsoft President Brad Smith has said it is prepared to offer rivals licensing deals to lessen concerns over Microsoft owning the Call of Duty franchise outright, without having to sell it to complete the Activision Blizzard acquisition. We’re already aware of several deals related to Call of Duty, including one with Nintendo, which was formalized just last month, and another that will bring the shooter series to the cloud gaming service Boosteroid.
“We have stood behind our promise to bring Call of Duty to more gamers on more devices by entering into agreements to bring the game to the Nintendo console and cloud game streaming services offered by Nvidia, Boosteroid, and Ubitus,” a spokesperson said of the deals. “We are now backing up that promise with binding commitments to the European Commission, which will ensure that this deal benefits gamers into the future.”
Earlier this month, the European Commission delayed its ruling on the acquisition to April 25, but according to sources that spoke with Reuters, Microsoft is currently expected to secure approval from the EU antitrust regulator. Microsoft has repeatedly said it has “no financial incentive” to take Call of Duty away from PlayStation, though Sony recently suggested that Starfield being exclusive to Xbox is evidence that Microsoft will not necessarily release multiplatform games from companies it acquires.