Sony says Microsoft’s Call of Duty offer was ‘inadequate on many levels’

Sony has criticized Microsoft’s plan to maintain Call of Dutyon PlayStation “inadequate on many levels.” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer revealed to The Verge this week that Microsoft is determined to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for “several more years” beyond the current deal Sony signed with Activision. Sony isn’t happy, however it’s not surprising, as Microsoft is working to achieve the $68.7 billion Activision Blizzard deal approved by the regulators.

“Microsoft has only offered for Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement between Activision and Sony ends,” says PlayStation director Jim Ryan in a statement to Games Industry.biz. “After nearly twenty years playing Call of Duty on PlayStation their offer was not sufficient on numerous levels and did not consider the effects on gamers. We’d like to ensure that PlayStation gamers will continue to enjoy the best Call of Duty experience. Microsoft’s proposal is a violation of this fundamental principle.”

Ryan’s comment clarifies the fact that “several more years” is actually three years after the Call of Duty marketing agreement expires. Bloombergoriginally stated earlier in the year that Microsoft had pledged to release Call of Duty on PlayStation “for at least the next two years,” meaning that Sony’s deal to market for the franchise may be up for renewal in 2024. This could mean that Microsoft has offered only to 2027.

“I hadn’t intended to comment on what I understood to be a private business discussion, but I feel the need to set the record straight because Phil Spencer brought this into the public forum,” adds Ryan in his statement. Spencer claimed that the Microsoft offer “goes well beyond typical gaming industry agreements,” however, it’s not enough to soothe Sony’s worries about the franchise.

Call of Duty is one of Activision’s biggest-selling franchises 

Lawyers representing Sony both Microsoft have been fighting over the significance in Call of Duty in documents presented the Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) regulator and it’s significant for both businesses. Sony says it’s challenging for others to develop an action game that is comparable to the action of Call of Dutyand that it is unique “as a gaming category on its own.” Microsoft claims it’s not as significant as its competitor makes it appear to be. In reality, it’s somewhere in between.

Microsoft could be required to provide more assurances regarding the future of Call of Duty‘s future to Sony in particular, since concerns over competition in Call of Duty are currently being investigated from regulators across The UK, Europe, US and around the world. In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) moved to investigate Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard agreement more closely over the past week. The CMA is now moving towards the next phase of investigation, which will require it to appoint an independent panel to decide whether Microsoft’s influence over games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraftcould affect competitors.

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