Call of Duty is the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard merger battleground

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The Future. Microsoft’s $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard may not go through for one simple reason: Call of Duty. The franchise is so big, popular, and successful that Microsoft’s ownership of it may be a monopoly in and of itself… especially if it’s used as an exclusive title in the fledgling cloud-gaming ecosystem.

One game to rule them all
How could one video game franchise, Call of Duty, be responsible for holding up a blockbuster merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard?

  • The video game is one of the most successful entertainment IPs ever, nabbing $30 billion in overall revenue.
  • Each of its installments — a new one every year, which is a rare feat — has been the top-selling game in the US annually for the past 14 years.
  • For many people, it’s the only game that all of their friends play — whether that’s through a console, mobile, or a PC.

That popularity and longevity led Call of Duty to be the most valuable video game title in the world… and whoever controls it essentially controls the market. 

That fact has been mentioned numerous times in  complaints by the regulatory bodies in the US (18 times), UK (41 times), and EU (we think WSJ lost count) to block or curtail the merger.


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