Microsoft has made Sony a 10-year licensing deal to keep Activision-Blizzard games on PlayStation in an effort to help convince regulators to approve the massive $68.7 billion merger.
Sources tell Reuters that Microsoft is prepared to make pre-emptive concessions in the hopes of getting the Activision merger approved. While the Microsoft-Activision merger has been approved without limitations in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia, regulators like the UK's Competition for Markets Authority, the United States' FTC, and the European Commission are heavily scrutinizing the multi-billion deal.
One of the biggest contention points is the fate of the $31 billion shooter franchise Call of Duty, as well as other lucrative Activision titles. Microsoft has publicly said that it intends to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation, and has recently backed up its pledge with a 10-year deal guaranteeing Sony access to Call of Duty on its PlayStation platform.
Sources now tell Reuters that this 10-year licensing deal will be the main concession point that Microsoft will propose to regulators in an effort to help assuage concerns and receive early clearance of the deal or, at the very least, reduce the amount of time for an approval.
Arguments against the merger, which is the largest in gaming history, are mostly predicated on the size and scope of key Activision-Blizzard franchises (of which the publisher has eight separate franchises that have grossed over $1 billion) and how they will impact Microsoft's gaming business, which includes a console market, multi-game subscriptions, and cloud streaming.
Sony has repeatedly said that the deal is bad for the industry and for consumers, saying that the merger would "threaten the gaming ecosystem at a critical moment", however the bulk of Sony's argument is built on Call of Duty exclusivity--which is something that Microsoft has repeatedly said will not happen.