Amid regulatory pressure and scrutiny of potential exclusivity, Microsoft has offered Sony, Nintendo, and Valve a 10-year deal to sell Call of Duty games on their respective platforms. Reports now indicate this deal is much better than we initially thought.
Microsoft's 10-year Call of Duty deal would also allow Sony to include the shooter franchise on its competing PlayStation Plus subscription service, sources have told Bloomberg. The development comes shortly after the FTC announced that it will attempt to sue to block the $68.7 billion merger of Microsoft and Activision, primarily on the grounds of possible competitive harm from Microsoft making key Activision franchises exclusive to its Xbox platform.
Sony has previously argued that adding Activision content to Xbox Game Pass, which Microsoft plans to do, would tip the scales in favor of Microsoft's multi-game subscription service. Our findings indicate that this could indeed happen. Now Microsoft is responding to this specific claim by allowing Sony to bolster its own directly-competing subscription service with the same $31 billion franchise that would theoretically elevate Xbox Game Pass.
The specifics of the deal aren't made apparent. Will Microsoft let Sony release Call of Duty on PlayStation Plus day and date? Or is the deal restricted to previously-released titles?
Sony is reluctant to follow Microsoft's lead in this regard. Sony has repeatedly rejected the day and date release cadence of its own first-party games on its PlayStation Plus service because the model would affect its game sales, of which it keeps 100% of as a platform-holder.
The real question is whether or not Sony will accept the 10-year deal, and if it does, whether or not it will add Call of Duty to PlayStation Plus. This remains unclear based on Sony's previous behavior and current market trends for the gaming sector.