Sony has reacted to Microsoft’s bombshell offer to buy Activision Blizzard by speculating on what this could mean for future PlayStation titles such as Call of Duty. “We anticipate Microsoft to honor contractual agreements and continue to make Activision games multiplatform,” a spokeswoman for Activision told The Wall Street Journal.
The wording of that remark isn’t really clear. It’s understandable that Sony would expect Microsoft to honor any existing contractual arrangements relating to PlayStation titles, as it did when Sony’s PS5 platform exclusive Deathloop was released following Microsoft’s acquisition of publisher Bethesda Softworks. Microsoft will be able to pursue Xbox exclusivity for the various titles it is purchasing once existing deals expire.
The primary point is Call of Duty. Although the Call of Duty brand is highly successful on both Xbox and PlayStation, Sony has had a marketing partnership with Activision for more than five years. During Sony’s E3 2015 press conference, former PlayStation CEO Andrew House declared, “PlayStation is the new home of Call of Duty.” In November, Sony stated that Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the second most popular PS5 game in 2021, trailing only Fortnite. According to NPD, Call of Duty also grabbed both of the top rankings for US game sales for the entire year of 2021, demonstrating its clout in the market.
Sony will have no control over Call of Duty’s long-term future on PlayStation after Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition concludes. Starfield became an Xbox and PC exclusive as a result of Microsoft’s Bethesda acquisition, and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has hinted that The Elder Scrolls VI will be an Xbox exclusive as well.
“Activision Blizzard games are appreciated on a multitude of platforms,” Spencer stated earlier this week. “We aim to continue to support those communities moving forward.” It’s easy to envision a scenario in which Microsoft keeps Call of Duty: Warzone on several platforms, but all future Call of Duty games are exclusive to the Xbox One. After all, Microsoft isn’t going to keep spending $68.7 billion on PlayStation games indefinitely.