Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 III PS4 PlayStation 4

Welcome to the latest generation of games consoles – where co-marketing deals have taken the place of the third-party exclusives that don't exist anymore. When you stop and think about it, it's pretty moronic that platform holders are fighting over the rights to advertise games, but this is big business at the moment – just look at how Destiny catapulted PlayStation 4 sales last year.

And it's why it felt significant when that debut Star Wars: Battlefront trailer opened and closed with familiar Sony idents. But it may not be the only big third-party release that the Japanese giant will be teaming up with this holiday, as there's growing speculation that the organisation has signed a deal with Call of Duty: Black Ops III – the Treyarch developed first-person shooter due out this Christmas.

But wait a minute: we've all heard this one before. The exact same rumour cropped up for Call of Duty: Ghosts and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and the source seems no less secure this time; it all appears to stem from a single NeoGAF post, from a user who seems to have some kind of track record for predicting these things – but could merely have good intuition.

We wouldn't buy into it too much just yet, then – but it's interesting to speculate about the possibility. Microsoft has partnered with Activision on the property for a while now, and it very much feels like the franchise is part of the Xbox woodwork. Would switching co-marketing allegiances really change all of that? It seems unlikely from where we're sitting.

However, some are suggesting that the publisher may be disgruntled: PS4 has an install base twice as large as the Xbox One, so it seems strange for maps to launch later on the former format. Sony's been really good at partnering with new brands all generation so far, though – Destiny, Watch Dogs, etc – and that's enabled it to pretend that these are exclusive products, even though they're not.

It won't have anywhere near as much luck with Call of Duty, so it would be a strange title for it to back. At the same time, though, Battlefront and Black Ops III would be a pretty formidable fall lineup for Sony – and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End probably wouldn't be missed if it had bundles for both. Stranger things have happened, we suppose.