Ever since the news broke that Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard, there have been concern about what that would mean for the future of PlayStation owners. In theory, Microsoft could make Call of Duty an exclusive and prevent people with PlayStations from playing future games. Considering that Call of Duty is one of the biggest franchises in all of gaming and is a high seller on PlayStation consoles, Microsoft doing this would be a huge blow to Sony.
Most of those fears were quickly alleviated when the head of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, tweeted out reassurance to fans that Microsoft didn’t have plans to remove Call of Duty from PlayStation consoles. He also mentioned Microsoft’s desire to fulfill any of Activision Blizzard’s current contracts with other platforms. Those contracts were recently mentioned by a Sony spokesperson in regards to the possibility of Activision Blizzard games no longer being available on non-Microsoft platforms.
What are those contracts? According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, it includes three upcoming Call of Duty games, and one of them is expected to be Warzone 2.
Before news of the $69 billion acquisition broke last week, Activision had already committed to make the next few Call of Duty games available on Sony’s console, according to four people with knowledge of the deal, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to speak to press.
That includes this year’s Call of Duty, expected to be a new entry in the popular Modern Warfare sub-series being developed by Infinity Ward, and the following game, which is in development at Treyarch, both Activision-owned studios. The deal also includes a planned new iteration of Call of Duty Warzone, the lucrative free-to-play game that was released in 2020.
What is interesting about this is a portion of this report says that the future beyond those three contracted games is not quite as in stone.
Plans are hazier for the Call of Duty games further out, said the people familiar with the matter. Microsoft said it expects the acquisition to close sometime in the next six to 18 months, after which it will be able to decide whether to continue releasing future Call of Duty games on PlayStation. Top employees at Activision have also discussed spacing out Call of Duty releases rather than putting them out every year, Bloomberg has reported.
For now, all we can do is take Spencer and Microsoft at their word that they plan to keep Call of Duty on the PlayStation. What’s more interesting is the possibility of Call of Duty no longer being an annual title — a Call of Duty game has been released once a year since 2005. It is as much a constant on the video game calendar as Madden, and seeing it lose that distinction would be a major change.