The gaming industry is reeling from the potential ramifications of Microsoft’s massive deal to acquire Activision, and some of the biggest questions have been about the future of the Call of Duty franchise, which is a big hit on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles. While we still don’t know for sure where you’ll be able to play the newest Call of Duty games if the acquisition goes through, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer suggests the series does have a future on Sony platforms.
“Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony,” Spencer said Thursday evening. “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.”
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
That statement leaves some wiggle room that Call of Duty could still become an Xbox exclusive franchise. Microsoft has shown a willingness to turn its acquisitions into exclusives: it’s planning to release Bethesda Softworks’ upcoming game Starfield only on Xbox and PC, and Spencer has hinted that will be the case for The Elder Scrolls VI as well. That approach would make sense, especially as a way to help beef up its Game Pass subscription service.
But it seems that might not be what Spencer wants to do with Call of Duty. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s been willing to keep Microsoft-owned franchises multiplatform; Minecraft, for example, remains available on many different platforms years after it acquired Mojang. And Microsoft has even released a new Minecraft game, Minecraft Dungeons, on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Spencer’s statement lines up with one Sony shared with The Wall Street Journal. “We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform,” a Sony spokesman told the publication. Spencer and Sony’s statements also align with information from an FAQ Activision sent to employees this week. “We will honor all existing commitments post close,” according to the FAQ, which appeared in an SEC filing. “As with Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft, we have no intent to remove any content from platforms where it exists today.”
The acquisition is still a long way off from being a done deal, however; it’s not expected to close until the end of Microsoft’s 2023 fiscal year, which ends in June 2023. But assuming Activision eventually does join Microsoft, if you’re a PlayStation gamer, it now seems somewhat more likely that new Call of Duty games will still come to your Sony console.