Xbox Wins UK Regulators Over PlayStation's Call of Duty Exclusivity Concerns

Xbox has managed to win over a UK regulator in the ongoing legal battle with the Activision acquisition. At the start of 2022, Microsoft announced it was planning to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision for just shy of $70 billion. It would be the biggest gaming acquisition in history both in terms of its cost and also due to what is included in the acquisition. Giving a platform holder the keys to Call of Duty is huge as its the number one best selling game almost every single year, with exception of some years that Rockstar had released a game. PlayStation raised concerns that this could lead to Xbox making the shooter franchise exclusive, but Xbox has made efforts to ensure that won't happen.

Nevertheless, this whole ordeal lead to regulators stepping in to investigate Xbox's intentions with the acquisition and hearing out Sony's concerns. After many weeks of back and forth, The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have sided with Xbox and don't believe Xbox has any reasons to make Call of Duty exclusive (via The Verge). However, it is concerned about the deal's potential impact on cloud gaming and will continue to investigate that until the end of April.

"Having considered the additional evidence provided, we have now provisionally concluded that the merger will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in console gaming services because the cost to Microsoft of withholding Call of Duty from PlayStation would outweigh any gains from taking such action," says Martin Coleman, chair of the independent panel of experts conducting the CMA's investigation.  

As of right now, we're still waiting to see what the FTC will ultimately decide for the deal. There are some hurdles to clear, but this is a major milestone and could help the FTC side with Xbox seeing as another major regulator didn't object further. Only time will tell how this deal plays out. The deal was expected to be closed by June 2023, but it's unclear if that will still happen due to the legal proceedings.

What do you think of the CMA's verdict? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @Cade_Onder.