Call of Duty

Microsoft & Sony Clash Over Call Of Duty & Game Pass In Legal Docs

By Jonathan Lee, Washington Post

Call of Duty is a massive, sprawling video game franchise that has sent players through dozens of battlefields ranging from the beaches of Normandy to the abandoned city of Pripyat to the frozen moon Europa. Now, it has become the staging ground for a new conflict brewing between Sony and Microsoft.

In January, Microsoft announced its intention to buy Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. While the Federal Trade Commission has been scrutinizing the deal in the United States, Brazil also placed Microsoft under review by the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (or CADE), the country’s national antitrust regulator, and asked various gaming companies such as Ubisoft, Riot Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Sony for comments on the potential merger. Out of the 11 companies CADE reached out to, Sony was the sole objector.

At the heart of Sony’s concern was Microsoft potentially owning Call of Duty, which Sony claimed would position Microsoft at the critical mass of a gaming monopoly. Microsoft had already gained some of gaming’s most revered franchises such as Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and Doom after purchasing ZeniMax Media in 2020. These high profile acquisitions have been integral to Microsoft’s plan to solidify the power of Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service where users gain access to a rotating catalogue of downloadable games for a monthly fee.

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