Monday, February 26

Sony “expects” Activision games to remain cross-platform. But it is in the hands of Microsoft

It has been the news of the week, the month and probably the year. In a unprecedented transaction, Microsoft has bought Activision Blizzard. Although it is true that it is pending approval by the regulators and the company’s shareholders’ meeting, it is a very juicy purchase that could deal Sony a serious blow.

Activision Blizzard is the company in charge of franchises as powerful as ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Crash Bandicoot‘ Y ‘Spyro‘, just to mention a few and taking ‘Diablo’, ‘Warcraft’, ‘StarCraft’ and ‘Tony Hawk’ out of the equation. The question was in the air: what will happen when the purchase is completed with the Activision Blizzard games that came out on PlayStation? Will they be exclusive to Xbox? Since Sony have already spoken about it.

Sony expects games to remain cross-platform

On the one hand, Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming and head of Xbox, made the following statements on Bloomberg: “I will just say the following to gamers out there playing Activision Blizzard games on Sony platforms: our intention is not to remove communities from that platform and we will remain committed to it“.

From those words it can be understood that Activision Blizzard games (expectedly in the hands of Microsoft from June 2023) will continue to be released on PlayStation. Franchises like ‘Call of Duty’ have had exclusive content and early access on Sony consoles, not to mention that ‘Call of Duty’ is, year after year, one of the best-selling games on PlayStation.

From Sony, meanwhile, they have taken a more cautious approach. According to a spokesman for the Japanese company in statements to the Wall Street Journal:

“We expect Microsoft to honor contractual agreements and continue to ensure that Activision games are cross-platform.”

The statement is somewhat vague and does not delve into those “contractual agreements” that must be present between Activision Blizzard and Sony. However, considering Spencer’s words, it is to be expected that future Activision Blizzard games keep releasing on PlayStation. However, there has not yet been a clear and forceful statement that confirms, without nuance, these intentions.

Call of Duty

If we take a look at the most downloaded games on PlayStation in 2021, ‘Call of Duty: Vanguard‘, ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War‘ Y ‘Warzone‘ are present at the top. Not only are they powerful games, but together with ‘Warcraft’ and ‘Candy Crush’ they account for 76% of Activision Blizzard’s total revenue. Leaving out Sony, which accounts for 17% of sales (Microsoft 11%), could be a counterproductive strategy.

This is how Activision Blizzard makes money: its three big franchises generate 76% of its income

In any case, what is no secret is that Microsoft will use this purchase to fuel an increasingly powerful and interesting Game Pass. What’s more, nothing prevents Microsoft from launching the 2023 ‘Call of Duty’ on PlayStation and allowing Game Pass users to access it from day one on PC and Xbox.

However, we cannot forget what happened to bethesda. Bethesda games released from now on will be exclusive to Xbox and PC. The commitments made will be respected, as is the case of the temporary exclusive of ‘Deathloop’ and ‘Ghostwire Tokyo’, but titles like ‘Starfield‘ The ‘The Elder Scrolls VI‘ will be exclusive to the Microsoft ecosystem.