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After long months of wrangling and despite pretty open animosity in the courtroom, Sony and Microsoft have finally struck a deal that will apparently guarantee that Call of Duty remains on PlayStation for at least 10 years after Microsoft's purchase of Activision is finally completed.It's a resolution that seemed remote just a few weeks ago, as PlayStation dug in to oppose the acquisition as the Federal Trade Commission examined it, but spells good news for COD's legions of fans.The deal was announced without any buildup and fanfare by Phil Spencer, just as he's dropped news of agreements with far more unknown streaming platforms, but has by far the biggest ramifications of any of those announcements.

Without a press release or blog post, that's a pretty vague way to describe a "binding agreement", but subsequent reports have confirmed that both Xbox and PlayStation say the deal is for a 10-year span.

That's enough to keep COD on PlayStation 5 for the entire remainder of its lifespan, and also to see the series launch on whatever hardware generation Sony has in store next.

Getting back on track

Of course, the major background to all of this is the continued, albeit slow, progress of Microsoft's massive acquisition of Activision, and its attempts to convince a series of regulators that the deal should be allowed to proceed.

The only major opposition remaining comes in the form of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, which provisionally blocked the deal as a result of concerns about its influence on the nascent cloud gaming market.

It's tempting to see this Call of Duty agreement as another attempt to placate a regulator but, in reality, the CMA has already stated for the record that it isn't overly concerned about the status of COD post-merger.

Since cloud gaming is instead its major hangup, it'll be interesting to see if this actually moves the needle with the decision-makers that remain unconvinced.

What's more certain, though, is that this stands out as a major PR win at a time when Xbox needed it - the public (or at least that portion still captive on Twitter) reaction has been excellent so far, not least from PlayStation gamers breathing a major sigh of relief.

Sony's submissions during the FTC's case included some startling statistics about how popular COD is on its platform after all, not least one that showed millions of gamers play literally nothing else on their PlayStation console, so retaining access to the series was always crucial for it.

However, signing this agreement suggests that Sony now accepts the prevailing view that it's now a matter of when, not if, the acquisition gets the green light and is finalised.