The latest Call of Duty battle between Microsoft and Sony, and here’s how

The latest Call of Duty battle between Microsoft and Sony, and here's how

Chasing your enemies through the bustling streets of Amsterdam, along the US-Mexico border or into a Middle Eastern fishing village is just part of the intense action in the latest news. Call of duty video game.

Call of duty: modern warfare 2 continues nearly two decades of the California-based military shooter franchise Activision Blizzard. The new installments of the game can rival the biggest Hollywood blockbusters in how much they earn in their opening weekend.

But this time the battle also takes place off screen. Call of Duty is the center of the tug-of-war between the companies MicrosoftXbox and SonyPlayStation due to Microsoft’s pending $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard.

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“Microsoft will have full ownership of one of the most valuable franchises in console gaming,” said Joost van Drunen, a gaming lecturer at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “Of course, Sony doesn’t want that or something like that because it would cost them a business.”

Microsoft is working to obtain approval from antitrust regulators in the United States, Europe and elsewhere to complete the January deal to acquire the video game giant. But it has been tracked around the world by objections from Sony, which fears losing access to what it describes as a “must-have” game title.

Among those listening to Sony’s concerns are UK antitrust regulators who last month escalated their investigation into whether Microsoft could make Call of Duty and other titles exclusive to its Xbox platform or “weaken competitors’ access” by delaying releases or Licensing imposed higher prices.

“These games require thousands of game developers and several years to complete, and there are very few other games of similar caliber or popularity,” said a September report from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.

at Southern California Studios Infinity Wardthe division of Activision Blizzard responsible for creating the new game, the Microsoft-Sony battle has been secondary to game developers’ more pressing concerns about making sure their latest installment pleases legions of die-hard fans.

Jack O. saidHaraGame manager.

Work on Modern Warfare 2 began before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Infinity Ward’s headquarters outside Los Angeles, forcing the developers to be more creative with how they drew the game’s characters, weapons, movements, scenes, and recorded their voices. It was the same studio that in 2003 launched the original Call of Duty, a first-person shooter set during World War II.

Mark Grigsby, the studio’s director of animation, first joined in 2005. He said he was feeling “some anxiety” ahead of Friday’s release about how players would react to mods that affect the feel of the virtual weapons they’re holding, such as how they recoil after firing a shot.

“In every iteration of a product, you’ll never be able to get everything you want to do in that one version. So you’re always trying to up your game,” said Grigsby. “It takes a talented army and army.”

Games have gradually become more visually realistic, interactive and multiplayer in the past two decades. They’ve also become more contemporary, starting with 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which moved combat to the modern-day environments of the Middle East and Ukraine. Friday’s Edition is the sequel to the popular 2019 game which was itself an update to the 2007 game of the same name.

Studio executives said they consulted consultants and experts before incorporating storylines and images from the politically charged US-Mexico border wall, as well as a range of settings meant to evoke a Mexican city and a fictional country in the Middle East. Ukraine, where the company has some employees affected by the Russian war, is notably absent.

“We want to have that realism and feel like it’s a world we know and not an outside world,” O’Hara said. “However, obviously, we’re all affected by current affairs. And so we always want to get away from something that just feels inappropriate or not right, basically. The point isn’t to take advantage of anything.”

Infinity Ward executives declined to talk about their pending acquisition by Microsoft. But Microsoft is increasingly talking about what could be the biggest tech acquisition ever, trying to reassure regulators that it will keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for “at least several more years” beyond its current contract with Sony.

While Brazil and Saudi Arabia have already agreed to the deal, they are still awaiting important decisions from the US Federal Trade Commission and authorities in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. European Union. Microsoft told investors on Tuesday that it still expects to close the deal by the first half of next year. But it is possible that regulators will impose conditions that force Microsoft to keep access to Call of Duty open for a longer period and make sure that its competitors do not get a lower version.

“Is it really important to Sony financially? Probably not. But mostly it’s a draw to have all these people come to their platform,” said Van Drunen.

And as important as it is to console makers and the digital subscription services they build, Call of Duty and its fan base is just part of what Microsoft will get from the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which owns dozens of games including popular mobile games like candy crush. While attention was on the Call of Duty dispute, Van Drunen said that expanding into mobile could be the real “gravity point” for the massive Microsoft merger.