Microsoft vs Sony: timeline of the war for Call of Duty and Activision Blizzard | we are xbox

The war between Xbox and Sony for Call of Duty, despite seeming otherwise, has only just begun. On January 18, 2022, Microsoft surprised the entire industry by announcing, by surprise, the acquisition of Activision Blizzard and the arrival of its entire catalog to xbox game pass. Identical to what it did with Bethesda, Microsoft launched a tweet announcing the arrival of the giant, predicting immense growth for both Xbox Game Studios and Microsoft’s flagship service, Xbox Game Pass. However, Microsoft’s initial joy gradually faded when it encountered two fronts that, up to now, had not objected: Sony and the antitrust agencies.

In the same 2022, the purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft was approved by several countries without any problem. Such was the case in Saudi Arabia, Chile, Serbia and Brazil. They were joined by the third-parties who, for the most part, did not oppose the operation. However, in July 2022 the purchase began to raise the suspicions of the CMA, the competition agency in the United Kingdom. You suspect that, to this day, they have triggered a domino effect that, up to now, has prevented the purchase. Faced with so many movements and processes, we bring you the Full timeline of the war between Microsoft and Sony over Call of Dutywhich we will update as new information becomes available.

Table of Contents

Microsoft vs Sony: timeline of the war for Call of Duty and Activision Blizzard 57Microsoft vs Sony: complete timeline of the war for Call of Duty and Activision Blizzard

1.- Process before the CMA, the most dangerous body of all

The CMA The British (Competition and Markets Authority) has been, so far, the body that has given Microsoft the most problems and the one that is making the most progress in its decision-making process. He was also the first to show his suspicions that the agreement could affect competition, leading to a process divided into two phases.

In Phase 1, once the aforementioned doubts have arisen, the CMA opens a period of allegations and provision of documentation. This phase normally ends either through agreement between the affected parties, or by initiating Phase 2, in which case a cabinet of independent members examines the case more thoroughly over a maximum of 24 weeks. After this period, the CMA makes a final decisionwhich can range from dividing the part sold (as you have proposed to do with Call of Duty) to prohibiting the sale.

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Taking into account that the process began on July 6, 2022, when the first suspicions were raised, giving rise to Phase 1. The current situation of the process is as follows:


  1. Prior invitation to make allegations (until September 1, 2022)
  2. Publication of the initial conclusions. The CMA was “concerned” about the possible violation of competition in the video game market (September 1, 2022).
  3. Publication of the investigation decision and the investigation group of the process (September 15, 2022).


  1. Publication of the administrative calendar (October 4, 2022).
  2. Publication of the Phase 1 decision (October 14, 2022). The CMA assessed the possible violation of competition in the video game market, as well as the opening of a period of allegations for the interested parties, in order to provide solutions, giving the deadline October 28, 2022.
  3. Presentation of allegations by interested parties, including Microsoft and Sony, published on November 23, 2022. On December 21, 2022, a summary of the assessments made by the parties was published.
  4. Extension of the investigation period (published on January 5, 2023).
  5. Publication of the following evaluations and the solutions offered (February 8, 2023), among which is the possibility of unlink call of duty of the Activision Blizzard purchase agreement.
  6. End of February/beginning of March 2023: response to the allegations (if necessary).
  7. March 2023: final deadline to issue the allegations or observations of the parties
  8. Final decision of the CMA. It will take place, at the latest, on April 26, 2023.

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2.- Process before the European Commission: concern for Tencent, Apple and Google

In order of priority, the process before the European Commission is the second most interesting to Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, after CMA. Although the British market is a quasi-priority for both companies, it is the European Commission that has decided and sanctioned the companies whose cases it has analyzed more strongly.

Without going any further, it was the Commission that blocked the purchase agreement of Nivia by ARM and the one that sanctioned Google to pay more than 4,000 million euros for abuse of market power, by forcing developers to install some of their applications to use and develop for Android. And, in part, as a result of this sanction, Regulation (EU) 2022/1925 of the European Parliament and of the Council of September 14, 2022 on contestable and equitable markets in the digital sector was born, which aims to curb antitrust behavior in this sector.

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In Community territory, company concentration processes are governed by Council Regulation (EC) No. 139/2004 of January 20, 2004, on the control of concentrations between companies, whose main phases are as follows:

  1. Prior notification of the concentration of companies (September 30, 2022). In the present case, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard (as intervening parties to the agreement) notified this movement to the European Commission on September 30, 2022.
  2. Beginning of the concentration control procedure (November 8, 2022). The European Commission understood that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard fell within the scope of the Regulation of concentration of companies, because given its size it could give rise to situations that violate competition in the single European market.
  3. Opening of a second phase of investigation. The Regulation establishes specialties depending on whether the Member States raise objections or if the concentrations are carried out without the approval of the European Commission itself, offering a more relaxed procedure than that of the CMA. In any case, the European Commission allows interested parties and third parties to make claims at all stages.
  4. Hearing of interested parties with the European Commission (February 21, 2023).
  5. Final decision. In this case, the final date for its final decision on March 23, 2023.
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The decision of the European Commission has a deadline of March 23, 2023.

3.- Process before the FTC: the most belligerent and controversial of all

Finally, there is the North American FTC; the first antitrust agency to oppose Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard. Despite being based on reasons very similar to those of the CMA and the European Union, the FTC drags several controversies and accusations of partisanship. To which must be added recent movements, such as the defeat in court before Google for the purchase of Within or the resignation of one of the members of the FTC, due to disagreements with the President. Despite this, the process before the FTC continues and this is the schedule of actions that it plans to follow:

  1. Initial decision to block the purchase agreement from the FTC (December 8, 2022), followed by the presentation of allegations by the members of the Council and the appointment of a Federal Judge for the receipt and custody of documents provided by the parties (9 December 2022). December 2022).
  2. Allegations presented by Activision Blizzard, in defense of the agreement (December 14, 2022). The company filed new claims on December 22, 2022, as well as Microsoft.
  3. Telephone pre-hearing of the affected parties, set for January 3, 2023.
  4. Claims filed by Microsoft and Activision (January 4, 2023).
  5. Sony files the interested party request against the purchase (January 5 and 18, 2023).
  6. Presentation of requests, by Sony, to extend the deadlines to answer and make allegations (January 20 and 26, 2023).
  7. Nvidia submits a request to be part of the process, as an affected party, and requests an extension of the deadline to allege (January 30, 2023).
  8. New requests from Sony to extend the deadline to argue (February 1 and 2, 2023), accompanied by the veto request to Microsoft regarding the Sony information that it had requested (February 3, 2023).
  9. Nintendo appears as an interested party, after Activision Blizzard summons it as a witness and requests an extension of the deadline to argue (February 6, 2023).
  10. Microsoft response to deferrals and Sony veto request (February 7, 2023).
  11. Google appears as interested in the process, at Microsoft’s request, and requests an extension of the term to allege (February 8, 2023).
  12. New petition response to Sony’s writings (February 16, 2023).
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Lina Khan, Chair of the FTC, has been embroiled in several controversies over partisanship.

But this will not be the only thing. From January to summer, the FTC must prepare the list (temporary first and later definitive) of witnesses, as well as the appointment of experts. For their part, those interested must submit the required documentation by summer 2023. The process is scheduled to end, at the latest, in August 2023; date on which the hearing itself will take place.