PlayStation reacts to publisher’s buyout.
Sony has responded to this week’s industry-shaking news that Microsoft is buying Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard, and said it expects Microsoft to “ensure Activision games are multiplatform”.
The brief statement, issued to the Wall St Journal, is Sony’s first comment on the deal.
“We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform,” a Sony spokesperson said.
PlayStation has long held a close relationship with Activision, and has had the marketing rights to Call of Duty for years. It currently pays for various timed bonuses, boosts and other bits of exclusive content, while PlayStation branding appears in Call of Duty advertising.
As for Activision Blizzard, an employee Q&A on the deal available publicly via the SEC website says the following:
“We will honour all existing commitments post close. As with Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft, we have no intent to remove any content from platforms where it exists today. We would be open to discussions to enter into an agreement to confirm our intent when it is appropriate to do so.
“At this time, it remains business as usual, and we do not anticipate any changes to existing contracts or partnerships. Players are at the centre of everything we do at Activision Blizzard and Microsoft, and both teams will continue to provide great games and services to their players and partners.”
It seems unlikely that existing games such as the ongoing multi-platform Call of Duty: Warzone will be pulled from PlayStation when Microsoft’s buyout of Activision Blizzard is closed in 2023.
But what of future Call of Duty games, and other new releases? Will COD 2024 – whatever it is – still launch for PlayStation? What about new projects dreamed up by Microsoft for the various Activision Blizzard studios – a new Crash or Spyro game? Sony may expect Microsoft to keep Activision games multiplatform, but it seems fair to assume Microsoft will want some exclusives from its nearly $70bn purchase.