Microsoft might not have to relinquish control of Call of Duty after all, if a new report turns out to be true.
On March 2, a Reuters (opens in new tab) report claimed the European Union will soon give Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition its seal of approval, according to three anonymous sources. This would potentially help the acquisition clear one of its biggest antitrust challenges, if genuine.
It also means that Microsoft might not have to sell off Call of Duty and give up control of the franchise to win approval for the acquisition. The idea was first floated by the UK government last month, along with another proposal that Microsoft sell off the Activision part of Activision Blizzard for the deal to go ahead.
Obviously, this would be a major concession from Microsoft to win the deal. If the EU does give the deal the green light to go ahead, it could well mean that the UK government backs off from this proposal and goes along with the EU ruling.
In fact, the three anonymous sources cited in Reuters' report claim the EU won't ask Microsoft to sell off Call of Duty, or Activision, as part of the deal going ahead. The Reuters report also notes that the EU will hand out its final verdict on the proposed acquisition by April 25.
Microsoft has only pledged to put Call of Duty on more platforms if the Activision Blizzard acquisition goes ahead. The company signed a deal with Nintendo to put Call of Duty on Nintendo consoles for the next decade, should the deal be approved, and also committed to a decade of parity for Call of Duty across PlayStation and Xbox platforms.
Considering Microsoft recently said it doesn't see a viable path to sell Call of Duty to someone else, this report is nothing but good news for the company.
Microsoft even proposed a decade-long agreement to put Call of Duty on the Steam storefront, but Valve head Gabe Newell said no thank you.