‘We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements’
[Update: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has commented publicly on the matter on Twitter, noting that Microsoft has “had good calls this week with leaders at Sony,” and “confirmed [their] intent to honor all existing agreements,” as well as “keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.” Spencer followed that up by noting that “Sony is an important part of our industry,” and that they “value” their relationship. This is a total Spencer move, but the commitment to potentially keep Activision games multiplatform in the future is a win for everyone: if it follows through.]
It’s really easy to miss just how much Microsoft is gaining from the Activision Blizzard and King acquisition. A lot of people are focusing on Blizzard, which makes sense given the happenings of the past year, but they also picked up the lucrative King catalog, on top of everything Activision has to offer. That includes a Microsoft Call of Duty machine going forward: the series that still prints money. But of course, Sony is still going to get some of that cash.
While Microsoft was the original “Call of Duty exclusive” house, Sony eventually took over and ran with it. For years Sony has been the daddy of the series, hosting esports competitions and heaps of exclusive content, as one of their flagship multiplatform feathers in their cap. But at least in the short term, not much is changing, and it seems like Call of Duty will be among the games that still has prior platform agreements.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Sony notes that Microsoft still has to abide by the contracts set up before the acquisition. Here’s the full statement from a Sony rep:
“We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform.”
Simple and clean.
There are so many unanswered questions with this new acquisition. So Microsoft could theoretically revive Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and put an actual budget into new iterations. Spyro and Crash could both make a comeback, and all hang out in an “all star” mascot platformer game with Banjo Kazooie. It’s Disney-levels of conglomerate “we own all the IP” craziness. While homogenization doesn’t bode well for the industry as a whole, Activision wasn’t the best steward of so many of their properties in the first place.