Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

UK wants Microsoft to sell off Call of Duty after Activision Blizzard deal

Microsoft could be asked to agree to sell off the Call of Duty franchise in order for its contested takeover of Activision Blizzard to get the go-ahead from the UK government regulator.

The Competitions and Markets Authority says the deal in its current form has the potential to “harm UK gamers” who can’t afford consoles and damage the important rivalry between Xbox and PlayStation. Central to that argument is the fate of the Call of Duty franchise.

“Xbox and PlayStation compete closely with each other at present and access to the most important content, like CoD, is an important part of that competition,” the CMA said in a press release. “Reducing this competition between Microsoft and Sony could result in all gamers seeing higher prices, reduced range, lower quality, and worse service in gaming consoles over time.”

The CMA said it surveyed 40,000 Call of Duty PlayStation gamers, and 24% of them said they’d head for Xbox should it become exclusive to the Microsoft-owned platforms. Microsoft has promised that won’t be the case.

As a result of its investigation of the proposed takeover, the CMA is suggesting two structural remedies (pdf). The second of them is completely prohibiting the merger. So what options do the CMA say Microsoft has to get it over the line?

Well… they’re not very attractive.

(i) Divestiture of the business associated with Call of Duty;
(ii) Divestiture of the Activision segment of Activision Blizzard,Inc.(the Activision segment), which would include the business associated with Call of Duty;
(iii) Divestiture of the Activision segment and the Blizzard segment (the Blizzard segment) of Activision Blizzard, Inc., which would include the business associated with Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, among other titles.


Essentially, any one of those solutions would probably undermine Microsoft’s desire to complete the deal anyway. Why pay $70 billion for something when you’ll immediately have to sell off the element of most value?

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words