Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard was first announced in April 2022, so it’s been over a year that Microsoft has been both fighting against and trying to appease PlayStation and a variety of corporate competition boards across the world, like the Federal Trade Commission in the US and Office of Fair Trading in the UK. 

At the heart of the disruption to the acquisition was the sheer size and importance to gamers of the 'Call of Duty' franchise. It’s one of a handful of games that can pretty much guarantee a certain amount of sales every year it’s released, alongside 'FIFA' – now called EA FC – and other sports franchises like 'NBA2K'.

'Call of Duty' is just so popular that owning full exclusive rights to the game for Xbox would immediately put PlayStation at a massive disadvantage in the current and next generation of console wars for the foreseeable future. A lot of people play exclusively 'Call of Duty', and don’t really care which console they play it on, choosing based either on price or availability if they assume the hardware is more or less equal. If every player who wanted to play 'Call of Duty' on a console was forced to choose Xbox over PS5, there’s a good chance PlayStation wouldn’t be around after a few more generations unless they were able to come up with something really spectacular to replace 'Call of Duty'. 

Even then there would be no guarantees, Sony would be looking at a multi-billion-dollar investment in production and marketing for a completely new game to go up against one of the biggest and most loved series in gaming history. They could try to make a 'Call of Duty' clone, but then people would just buy 'Call of Duty'. The existing franchise has spent the last 20 years building up its player base, and while there have been ups and downs along the way, it would take a monumental error on Activision’s side to topple this behemoth. 

So, instead, Sony and Microsoft have signed an agreement which guarantees 'Call of Duty' will stay on both Xbox and PlayStation at least for the next 10 years. The full details of the agreement haven’t been, and may never be, announced, but it seems that this agreement applies to the 'Call of Duty' series and no other Activision Blizzard property. So, the next titles from Activision Blizzard may end up skipping PlayStation, or maybe Microsoft will keep some of them as Xbox exclusives or timed exclusives to try to get the best of both worlds. 

Only time will tell.