If Microsoft truly wants Activision Blizzard, they may need to leave Call of Duty behind

A UK regulator is not buying Microsoft's promise to keep CoD multiplatform just yet.

A UK regulator has thrown another potential obstacle in Microsoft’s path to acquire Activision-Blizzard in a new report published this morning.

The findings from the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority says it’s concluded a five month investigation “to understand the market and potential impact of the deal,” and its findings don’t sound great for Microsoft.

One of the focal points of the CMA’s findings is the importance of Call of Duty and how making such a large entertainment franchise exclusive to one platform would be harmful to gamers in the UK.

“The CMA provisionally found that weakening competition by restricting the access that other platforms have to Activisions games could substantially reduce the competition between Xbox and PlayStation in the UK, in turn harming UK gamers,” the report said.

As part of its findings the CMA suggests a partial divestiture of Activision Blizzard,” which could mean removing CoD from part of the acquisition entirely to help the deal go through.

The CMA was pretty clear that its investigation found that the vaunted “console wars” between Xbox and PlayStation are important to the business, and that it would be “commercially beneficial to make Activisions games exclusive to its own consoles (or only available on PlayStation under materially worse conditions),” which is why the regulator is concerned.

Related: Microsofts CEO details why hes still convinced the Activision Blizzard deal will go through despite opposition

“Xbox and PlayStation compete closely with each other at present and access to the most important content, like CoD, is an important part of that competition,” the report said. “Reducing this competition between Microsoft and Sony could result in all gamers seeing higher prices, reduced range, lower quality, and worse service in gaming consoles over time.”

Microsoft has stated on numerous occasions that it plans to keep CoD as a multiplatform franchise, offering to keep the series on PlayStation for at least the next 10 years.

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