Bobby Kotick Activision Blizzard Sony Acquisition 1
Image: Push Square

Microsoft’s unprecedented $69 billion buyout of Activision Blizzard has brought out the worst in everyone, as the trillion dollar Team in Green has pleaded poverty to the press while PlayStation has embarrassingly undermined its entire catalogue in front of regulators. However, it now looks like the deal will be approved, and we can begin to move forward from this sorry chapter in the industry’s history.

In an email to staff, CEO Bobby Kotick – who’ll almost certainly be booted out of the publisher with a golden parachute the moment the deal closes – has indicated he’s been disappointed by Sony’s behaviour, but says it won’t affect the long-term relationship between the two firms at all.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether there’ll even be a relationship to maintain moving forwards: Microsoft is saying that it’ll commit to releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation for a further ten years, but there’s been no mention of series like Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, or Spyro the Dragon – all with rich, storied histories on PlayStation.

“You may have seen statements from Sony, including an argument that if this deal goes through, Microsoft could release deliberately ‘buggy’ versions of our games on PlayStation,” he said. “We all know our passionate players would be the first to hold Microsoft accountable for keeping its promises of content and quality parity. And, all of us who work so hard to deliver the best games in our industry care too deeply about our players to ever launch sub-par versions of our games.”

Lawyers from PlayStation’s legal team had argued that Microsoft couldn’t promise parity between all versions of Call of Duty, because there’s always the possibility bugs could emerge – even in later parts of a release. It said that even if these problems were detected quickly and immediately remedied, this could cause a loss of trust in Sony’s systems. Of course, all this could also feasibly occur under Activision’s watch should it remain an independent organisation, so the point doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny.

Nevertheless, Kotick continued that while relations between Sony and Activision have been strained, it won’t cause any long-standing issues between the two giants: “PlayStation players know we will continue to deliver the best games possible on Sony platforms as we have since the launch of PlayStation.”