Even if Microsoft’s unprecedented $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard goes through, Call of Duty is unlikely to leave PlayStation platforms any time soon. We know that Sony has an ongoing contract with the publisher that will be honoured, and Xbox has at the very least committed to three additional years of multiformat support in an attempt to appease regulators.
EA bigwig Andrew Wilson is not losing too much sleep over the series’ future on PS5 and PS4, however – in fact, he sees a huge opportunity for his company’s own first-person shooter franchise, Battlefield. While the previous instalment Battlefield 2042 has a terrible reputation and has failed to retain players, the Australian executive was eager to reiterate that the series’ future will remain on PlayStation.
“In a world where there may be questions over the future of Call of Duty and what platforms that might be on or might not be on, being platform agnostic and completely cross-platform with Battlefield, I think is a tremendous opportunity,” he said during a recent Goldman Sachs event, as reported by Seeking Alpha.
Obviously if Call of Duty ceases to release on PlayStation platforms, it’ll leave a gigantic audience looking for something else to play. While it’s true that some players will simply leave Sony’s ecosystem and game elsewhere, others will seek an alternative – and that’s where Wilson believes his company may be able to capitalise.
Of course, before it can even begin to think about encroaching on Call of Duty’s territory, Battlefield needs to get back on track. Speaking candidly, Wilson admitted that the previous two entries in the property have failed to meet expectations. “I don't think we delivered in the last two iterations of [Battlefield] in the way that we should have,” he said of Battlefield 2042 and Battlefield V. He added that his company has a “lot of work” to do to get the series back on track, but that the right teams are now in place to realise the series’ “unbelievable ambitions” moving forwards.
To be honest, it’ll take a really good Battlefield game to unseat Call of Duty, but it’s true that if the latter departs PlayStation there will be opportunities for other publishers. There’s no question that abandoning an audience as large as Sony’s will leave space for others to occupy – but in its current state, Battlefield’s got a long way to go before it emerges as the likeliest candidate.