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Microsoft formally confirms 10-year PlayStation Call of Duty contract offer

Sony "as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix".

Microsoft has formally confirmed its offer of a 10-year contract to keep releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms after its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

In an opinion article on the deal published in the Wall St Journal, Microsoft president Brad Smith committed to making its 10-year COD contract "legally enforceable by regulators in the US, UK and European Union" - territories in which the company was previously felt to be struggling to get its acquisition agreed without making some sort of concessions.

The majority of the opinion piece repeats the same arguments for the deal we've heard from Microsoft many times before - that it would be good for both consumers and game developers, and that Microsoft is still struggling in a sector where it is "stuck behind Sony's dominant PlayStation and the Nintendo Switch".

Eurogamer Newscast: Why is Sony worried about Call of Duty on PlayStation 6?

On Sony, Smith said the PlayStation maker has "emerged as the loudest objector" - something which seems fair to claim.

"It's as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix," Smith wrote, dismissing Sony's fears Microsoft would suddenly pull Call of Duty support from the platform as "economically irrational" and "disastrous to the Call of Duty franchise and Xbox itself, alienating millions of gamers".

Last night also saw the publication of another pro-Microsoft opinion article, published in The Hill - this time from Chris Shelton, president of the Communicans Workers of America union. (Yes, that's the same union which just this week welcomed new members from Blizzard's Diablo QA team - an outfit that will become part of Microsoft should this deal go through.)

Shelton also argued in favour of Microsoft's Activision Blizzard buyout being agreed to by the US Federal Trade Commission, and wrote that it would be good news for worker rights.

Microsoft has already agreed to an "unprecedented labour neutrality agreement", Shelton wrote - in essence, an agreement its execs won't frustrate any attempts by workers to unionise, something Activision has been repeatedly accused of.

Indeed, just today - what good timing! - it was announced that hundreds of workers at the Microsoft-owned Zenimax were unionising under this very agreement.

Shelton went on to frame Sony's opposition to the Microsoft deal as a threat to this - dubbing it a "stark contrast of interests".

"If the merger is approved and the labour deal with Microsoft is effectuated, Activision Blizzard workers across the United States fighting sexual harassment and other poor working conditions stand to finally have a voice on the job and a chance to shape working conditions throughout the industry, and gamers will have allies inside a corporation with real protections for speaking out in consumers' interests," Shelton wrote.

"If the merger is disapproved, the power relations within the gaming industry for labour stay the same, Sony protects its very profitable position as the industry leader, and consumers will have to wait and see if subscription services mature into a viable gaming option."

Shelton concluded by praising FTC boss Lina Khan - who was yesterday named in a report claiming the commission was now likely leaning towards approving Microsoft's $68.7bn Activision takeover.

"It's time to seal the deal, not blow it up," Shelton claimed. Increasingly, at least on the on the US side of the pond, that's looking more likely.

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Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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