CMA finds Microsoft wouldn’t pull ‘Call Of Duty’ from PlayStation

The CMA doesn't think Microsoft's acquisition will cause "substantial" damage to competition in the console market

The UK’s Competitions And Markets Authority (CMA) has found that Microsoft‘s proposed £50billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard is not likely to cause a “substantial lessening” of competition between consoles in the UK.

In its provisional findings report published today (March 24), the CMA said that it does not believe Microsoft would remove Call Of Duty from PlayStation if it successfully acquired its developer.

Although Sony has repeatedly asserted that Microsoft could use the popular shooter to drive fans away from PlayStation, the CMA now believes “making CoD exclusive to Xbox would result in a significant financial loss for Microsoft post-merger”.


“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,” shared Martin Coleman, chair of the independent panel leading the investigation.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Credit: Activision Blizzard.
‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’. CREDIT: Activision Blizzard.

In its findings, the CMA added that Microsoft “would not have an incentive to engage in a total foreclosure strategy of PlayStation using CoD,” and went on to provisionally conclude that the acquisition was unlikely to create a “substantial” hit to the console market in the UK.

Going forward, the CMA confirmed that it plans to conclude its investigation by the end of April. The watchdog also clarified that today’s provisional findings will not affect its ongoing investigation into how the acquisition will affect the cloud gaming market.

Earlier in the month, six game companies submitted letters backing Microsoft’s proposed acquisition — while Sony claimed the company could sabotage PlayStation copies of Call Of Duty if it was successful.

The findings come as this week, Arkane Studios director Harvey Smith revealed that Microsoft cancelled a PS5 version of Redfall when it acquired parent company Bethesda Softworks.

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