Call of Duty games in development won’t be Xbox exclusives after Microsoft’s Activision acquisition
Yesterday, Microsoft surprised almost everyone by announcing that it’s acquiring gaming studio Activision Blizzard for an incredible $68.7 billion. The company is behind loads of popular franchises, from Call of Duty and World of Warcraft to Candy Crush Saga. And now, those are all owned by Microsoft.
So of course, the natural conclusion that some people might be drawing is that everything made by Activision Blizzard is about to become an Xbox exclusive, as PlayStation owners are left shaking their fists in the air. Luckily, Microsoft’s Xbox chief Phil Spencer has confirmed that that’s not the case, at least not yet.
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
As always, Microsoft is careful with its wording. Spencer is only saying that it’s going to honor existing agreements. That pretty much means that if a game is already in development for other platforms, it’s going to be available for those platforms when it launches. This shouldn’t come as a surprise either. The Redmond firm doesn’t have a history of breaking these agreements when acquiring gaming studios.
Of course, when those existing agreements expire, everything is up in the air. Microsoft’s top priority in gaming is Game Pass, a subscription offering that lets you choose from a variety of games to play at any time. The amount of subscribers sits at 25 million, so this isn’t even a half a billion dollar a year business. It’s clear that Microsoft has ambitions well beyond that.
That also means that it has to reach beyond customers that have Xbox consoles. PC users are a piece of the puzzle too, but game streaming is the endgame. No matter what happens, you can assume that these games will end up on Game Pass. As for if they’ll be available for Sony’s PlayStation consoles beyond what’s already agreed upon, those negotiations will likely be ongoing.