The news shook not only the world of video games, but also the financial sector of the United States. It is not for less. Activision Blizzard, the video game company behind best-selling series that year after year sell millions of video games for at least $60 dollars, such as Call of Duty, and series of great pedigree and millions of players around the world such as Diablo and Warcraft, will be bought by Microsoft to be part of Xbox Studios in a transaction valued at nearly $70 billion. Yes, it’s a bomb for the markets, but also for the average gamer or gamer, especially for those with a PS5 and wondering if they can continue playing Call of Duty on the Sony console.
So, will Activision games come out on PlayStation if the Xbox purchase goes through? We do not have a magic ball, but we do have some arguments to give a varied answer: some yes, and others no. We explain ourselves.
First, the facts. The purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has not yet materialized. More than a money issue, there are regulatory issues to overcome (and surely Microsoft has more than present), so the purchase, if authorized by the United States antitrust authorities, will not materialize until fiscal year 2023, which for Microsoft ends June 2023.
Antitrust? We are not specialists on the subject, but certainly Microsoft, Xbox in particular, has an increasingly relevant position in the market, especially after completing the purchase of Bethesda for $7.5 billion. Likewise, it could well be said that the video game market is almost an oligopoly in which, although you can see endless brands, the owners are a handful of conglomerates, but that’s another story.
Will we see the next Call of Duty on PS5?
Now, what has Phil Spencer said about the possibility of seeing Activision games on PlayStation? Of course, the word PlayStation 5 did not come out of the mouth of the director of Xbox Studios, but he did refer to the Sony console:
“It is not our intention to drive a community off the platform of their choice, and we will uphold that commitment,” Spencer said. in an interview with Bloomberg.
Live! That means that we will continue to have Call of Duty on PS5, right? Well, in theory yes, and in addition to Spencer’s suggestive statement, Call of Duty is among the best-selling games on PlayStation. In fact, the vast majority of the best-selling games on PS5 are cross-platform games.
In 2021, the best-selling PS5 game on the US and Canadian PlayStation Store was NBA 2K22, followed by neither more nor less than Call of Duty: Vanguard. In the seventh position is another CoD, B.lack Ops Cold War. And yes, video games are a business and clearly Xbox has the objective of selling more consoles than PlayStation, but if Call of Duty is sold at the rate of millions of copies on the Sony platform, why remove a best seller from a platform where in fact it is one of the best-selling video games? And let’s not forget: Xbox runs like a business, not a fan.
Still, we think there will be Activision exclusives on Xbox
And more precisely, in Game Pass. Again, we refer to the facts. Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, Xbox was quick to put Bethesda’s recent catalog of games on Game Pass, with titles like Doom Eternal as a spearhead.
Likewise, on that occasion Phil Spencer was questioned about whether the purchase meant that Bethesda games would be exclusive to Xbox. He replied that the situation would be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, and that translated into keeping Arkane Studios’ Deathloop (the minds behind Dishonored) as exclusive to the PS5 – most likely, the exclusivity agreement had to be respected by contract – and others such as Starfield, which was previously cross-platform, as a new Xbox and Game Pass exclusive.
Still, again, going by the facts, what we now know from Spencer saying that the eventual purchase of Activision is that some of Activision’s major series will be doing Xbox-exclusive content. And since Activision Blizzard is more than just Call of Duty, we’ll probably see series like Diablo or Warcraft with content you’ll only see on Xbox.
In any case, for now we have nothing but material to speculate. The only certainty in this story is that if you are a Game Pass subscriber, you will soon receive more games with your subscription.