Making Call of Duty Xbox exclusive "would be significantly loss-making" for Microsoft

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
(Image credit: Activision)

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority says there is little financial incentive for Microsoft to make Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive, as it publishes new findings that constitute a significant boost for the company.

In a press release, the CMA said that while its original analysis determined that keeping Call of Duty exclusive to Microsoft consoles "would be profitable under most scenarios," new data counters that idea. The data, which the CMA says "provides better insight into the actual purchasing behaviour of CoD gamers," indicates that an exclusivity strategy "would be significantly loss-making under any plausible scenario."

Instead "Microsoft will [...] still have the incentive to continue to make the game available on PlayStation." That runs in-line with the company's efforts to cut a deal with Sony, with a current 10-year offer on the table. Sony doesn't seem very open to that offer, however, having reportedly told Activision execs its main aim is to block the merger by any means possible.

The CMA's new findings constitute a significant win for Microsoft, as the watchdog has walked back some of its biggest concerns over the Xbox Activision deal. The CMA was a notable holdout on the merger, but now suggests that if Microsoft has no incentive to keep Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox, "the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition to console gaming in the UK."

The watchdog has focused primarily on Call of Duty and console gaming with these recent findings, and notes that it's not paying much attention to Microsoft's recent spate of other deals; with Nintendo and multiple cloud streaming services.

In previous findings, the CMA suggested Microsoft might want to sell off Call of Duty to help the deal go through.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.