Following Microsoft’s surprise acquisition of Activision Blizzard earlier this week, there’s been some uncertainty about the future of these games on PlayStation consoles. Yesterday, Sony put some pressure on Microsoft by publicly asking the company to respect its contractual agreements and keep Activision games available on multiple platforms, and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has now responded.
“Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony. I confirmed our intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony is an important part of our industry, and we value our relationship,” the exec said on Twitter yesterday.
Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony. I confirmed our intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony is an important part of our industry, and we value our relationship.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 20, 2022
While this statement does sound reassuring, there are actually different ways to interpret Microsoft’s “desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.” First, Spencer didn’t explicitly say that all future Call of Duty games will continue to be released on PlayStation. If Spencer plans to respect existing agreements between Sony and Activision, things could change once Activision becomes a subsidiary of Microsoft. And Spencer’s statement would still ring true if Microsoft kept the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone on PlayStation, but made future Call of Duty games exclusive to Xbox and PC.
Along with EA’s FIFA series, Call of Duty is one of the most popular annualized video games franchises, but Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision could actually change that. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Activision could drop its annual schedule for Call of Duty, which currently requires no less than 3 different studios to create one new episode every year.
In an interview with The Washington Post earlier this week, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer also said that he wanted to allow Activision’s studios to work on “a variety of franchises,” including some that have been left dormant. “We’re hoping that we’ll be able to work with them when the deal closes to make sure we have resources to work on franchises that I love from my childhood and that the teams really want to get,” the exec said.
Overall, it seems that a lot of things need to change at Activision Blizzard, and the company’s execs are also committed to improving the company’s toxic work culture. Regarding Call of Duty, sales of the latest WW2-themed episode, Vanguard, have also been down compared to the previous episode. However, Microsoft cares more about growing the number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers these days., and bringing Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard to Game Pass should definitely make the game subscription service more attractive