Microsoft’s Call of Duty Exclusivity Stance Fails to Convince UK Regulator

The UK regulator Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has continued a week of controversy over the Microsoft and Activision deal by refusing to accept Microsoft’s version of events over whether the Call of Duty franchise will become Xbox exclusive. They have instead sided with Sony that there will be a “substantial lessening of competition” between PlayStation and Xbox if the acquisition was allowed to go ahead.

The future of Call of Duty according to the CMA

The CMA didn’t believe Microsoft’s statement from earlier this week that they would keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles. Instead, the CMA found a “realistic prospect” of Microsoft “withholding or degrading Activision’s content—including popular games such as CoD—from other consoles or multi-game subscription services.” Later on in the statement from the UK regulator, the CMA said they believed that even if Microsoft did not make Call of Duty entirely exclusive, they would adopt a strategy of timed or content exclusivity so that Microsoft would “capture the most dedicated CoD gamers—those who would switch to Xbox to benefit from enhanced content, interoperability, or earlier releases —whilst continuing to generate revenues from less dedicated PlayStation CoD gamers.”

The result of these findings on Call of Duty is that the CMA believes that if the Microsoft and Activision deal was allowed to go ahead, it could have “a significant impact on Sony’s revenues and user base.” Microsoft has until October 28 to respond to this latest conclusion.


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