Well, this is quite the turnaround, isn’t it? Perhaps under the cloud of regulatory investigations, Microsoft has effectively committed to multiplatform releases of Activision Blizzard games, like Call of Duty and others. This news broke as part of a dour statement earlier in the week, but as is always the case there was some wiggle room in the language that made fans sceptical.
However, in an interview with CNBC, president Brad Smith makes things crystal clear: Xbox will not stop releasing Activision Blizzard franchises, including Call of Duty, on Sony systems. He actually talks about adding more consoles to the publisher’s output – Nintendo is cited, for example – and compares the acquisition to Microsoft’s purchase of Mojang, which has ensured Minecraft remains everywhere.
“One of the things we’re being very clear about as we move forward with the regulatory review is that great titles like Call of Duty will continue to be available on the Sony PlayStation,” Smith said. “We’d like to bring the other popular Activision Blizzard titles to Nintendo devices, and ensure that they continue to be available on PlayStation.”
He added: “One of the first acquisitions that [Microsoft CEO] Satya Nadella made was Minecraft back in September 2014, and what we’ve done with that acquisition is a clear indicator of what we hope to do if we acquire Activision Blizzard.” As mentioned above, Minecraft has continued to be available on PlayStation consoles, and has even received bespoke updates, like PSVR support.
So what, you may be wondering, is in all this for Microsoft? Well, it owns the franchises so will obviously profit from them moving forwards, and also it’ll have dibs on how they’re marketed and distributed. Presumably, including Call of Duty in Game Pass when its full-price elsewhere will still be considered a win for the Team in Green, but at least we now have confirmation that PlayStation will continue to be supported.