Sony has given its first public response to Microsoft’s agreed acquisition of Activision Blizzard and hinted that it expects many games under the deal to remain available on PlayStation platforms.
Addressing the the wall street journal, a Sony spokesperson said, “We expect Microsoft to honor contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are cross-platform.”
Activision publishes some of the best-selling games on PlayStation, including the Call of Duty series. Sony’s comments here suggest that it expects Activision titles, such as Call of Duty, to remain on PlayStation after the Microsoft acquisition is complete.
That sentiment was echoed by Activision Blizzard, which says it has no plans to remove its existing games from PlayStation systems after the deal.
In an FAQ sent by Activision Blizzard to its employees, and available to read on the US Securities and Exchange Commission website, the publisher says it expects its current PlayStation content not to change.
“We will honor all existing commitments after closing,” he said. “As with Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft, we have no intention of removing content from platforms where it exists today.”
For several years, Sony has enjoyed an exclusivity agreement with Activision, which ensures that Playstation consoles receive exclusive Call of Duty content before Xbox. This includes in-game bonuses for Call of Duty: Vanguard players on PS4 and PS5, a new game mode for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and a special Survival mode in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Sony hasn’t suggested how long the exclusivity deal will be in place, or what other “contractual agreements” might require Activision to continue publishing its games on PlayStation systems.
Analysis: cross-platform for now, but exclusivity is coming
These latest statements from Sony and Activision Blizzard reflect a comment Xbox head Phil Spencer made earlier in the week. In an interview with Bloomberg, Spencer said, “I will just say to gamers playing Activision Blizzard games on Sony’s platform: It is not our intention to take communities away from this platform and we have remained committed to that.”
This should reassure gamers that Activision’s biggest titles won’t be immediately removed from PlayStation, and the publisher will continue to support games that have already been released on the platform. How far this support will extend in the future, however, is the million dollar question. Microsoft will be working to capture as many game sales from Activision Blizzard as possible, and making these titles exclusive to Xbox is the surest way to do that.
It should also be remembered that a similar situation has already occurred. Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda in 2020, it honored previous contractual agreements that made Deathloop PlayStation-exclusive titles. This put Microsoft in the odd position of releasing a game that has yet to launch on its own consoles.
He later avoided making direct commitments on future exclusivity deals, only to later announce that several upcoming Bethesda games will only be available on Xbox and PC. Among them are the highly anticipated Starfield and Arkane’s open-world co-op shooter Redfall.
One would expect a similar situation to happen again here. Microsoft offers Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard franchises on PlayStation for as long as they are contractually obligated, before moving to an exclusive model.
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