Microsoft says it "doesn't see a viable path" to sell Call of Duty to someone else

The nerfed LA Thieves skin in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Microsoft president Brad Smith says the company does not "see a viable path to sell the Activision studio or Call of Duty to someone else," seemingly dismissing suggestions from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority about divesting parts of the $69 billion Xbox Activision deal.

Smith spoke at a press conference held today, which also saw Microsoft announce a new deal with Nvidia that would bring Call of Duty to a combined 150 million new players together with its newly minted 10-year Nintendo offer

"I think the problem is we just don't see a viable path to sell the Activision studio or Call of Duty to someone else," Smith said in response to one question. "If you're the CMA in the UK, I think you're probably going to have to make a decision. Do you want to kill a deal and cement Sony's position in its 80% share in the EU, or say 70% share globally, in a market where it's been a super dominant company for 20 years? Or do you want to let the future go forward with behavioral guardrails and remedies to bring this title to 150 million more people? I think that's the fundamental choice that most regulators are going to need to address around the world." 

Two weeks ago, the CMA released an updated report highlighting a partial divestiture of Activision Blizzard as one of the potential remedies that could appease regulators and get the deal struck. Microsoft could sell off parts of Activision, including the studios responsible for Call of Duty, not to mention Blizzard or King. 

Smith's comments today have all but ruled out such a concession, which comes as no grand surprise. Smith also emphasized "behavioral guardrails and remedies" which would control the effects of the acquisition, and this lines up with the CMA's accompanying comments. After all, the CMA said it prefers structural remedies like partial divestiture, but behavioral remedies aren't off the table. It's plain to see which option Microsoft prefers. 

In further defense of this deal, today Microsoft argued that Sony dominates sales all over the world, with a staggering 24 to 1 lead in Japan.  

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.