So, we all gotta buy an Xbox now or..?
In the wake of yesterday’s industry-shaking news concerning the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft, many video games were left wondering what this meant for the Xbox exclusivity of Activision’s games going forward. After all, the studio owns some of the biggest brands in gaming, such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Crash Bandicoot, not to mention the crown jewel, Call of Duty.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Xbox Head of Gaming, Phil Spencer, has taken a typical executive stance of being somewhat vague in the company’s plans, but did state — more or less — that strict, across-the-board Xbox exclusivity for all of these valuable IPs is not really part of the equation.
“I’ll just say to players out there who are playing Activision Blizzard games on Sony’s platform: It’s not our intent to pull communities away from that platform and we remained committed to that.”
A Bloomberg source “close to the situation” has similar expectations, stating that they believe Microsoft will be allowing certain Activision titles to continue to thrive on platforms such as PlayStation 5.
It’s a familiar story, as similar murmurs were made back in 2020, when Microsoft opened its mighty wallet to the tune of $7.5 billion USD to purchase publisher ZeniMax/Bethesda. Since then, Bethesda releases such as The Elder Scrolls Online have remained on PlayStation platforms, while the studio has honored exclusivity deals on titles such as Arkane shooter Deathloop. Well, the deal was already in ink, and MS was hardly likely to be dragged through the courts over a game or two.
Tellingly though, some of Bethesda’s upcoming releases such as The Elder Scrolls 6, vampire hunter Redfall, and space opera epic Starfield are Xbox and PC exclusive, suggesting that while Xbox is happy to let PlayStation share in today’s titles, tomorrow’s might be another matter entirely. I can’t imagine already announced titles such as Overwatch 2 or Diablo IV being Xbox/PC exclusive… But what happens in another five to ten years, or when a new generation rolls around?
Microsoft holds a lot of cards right now, and it could be gearing up to play its ace.