Xbox Microsoft Activision Blizzard Acquisition Sony PS5 PlayStation
Image: Push Square

Microsoft is in Brussels today, trying to convince the European Commission that it should be allowed to acquire Activision Blizzard for an eye-watering $69 billion sum. Both the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority and the United States’ Federal Trade Commission have sought to block the buyout in recent months, so this is considered a pivotal moment for the deal.

As a result, the Redmond firm has gone on a bit of a charm offensive, announcing that it’s signed a ten-year partnership with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty (and, seemingly, other Xbox titles) to the Switch and any subsequent systems the Mario maker may release [Update: To clarify, subsequent reporting has confirmed Microsoft only plans to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms, should the acquisition clear]. It’s also signed a deal with NVidia, who previously opposed the deal, to bring all of Microsoft’s PC releases to GeForce Now. Unsurprisingly, the graphics chip giant is now very much on board with the acquisition.

That puts Sony in the precarious position of being one of two opposing parties remaining, with Google being the other. During a media briefing earlier this evening, Microsoft president Brad Smith held aloft a contract for the Japanese giant along with a pen, and said that it’s ready for its rival to sign. Presumably, the contents of that contract will ensure Call of Duty continues to release on PlayStation for the next ten years, as has previously been reported.

The Xbox maker also spent a little time comparing its position to Sony, pointing out that Microsoft commands just 20 per cent of the console market in Europe, compared to PlayStation’s 80 per cent. It also admitted that Xbox was massively outsold by PlayStation towards the tail-end of last year, with the Redmond firm capturing just 31 per cent of the market worldwide.

Microsoft concluded that, with its latest round of announcements, it’s committed to bringing Call of Duty to more platforms – and not less. A big sticking point for regulators has revolved around whether the juggernaut first-person franchise could potentially end up exclusive, like we’ve seen with some Bethesda titles like Starfield. It’ll be hoping it’s done enough here to move the needle on the deal.