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Why it matters: Sony’s first official response to Microsoft’s historic acquisition of Activision Blizzard indicates that current multiplatform games will remain on PlayStation in the near term. Comments from Activision support this claim. However, short-term obligations and long-term plans do not necessarily mesh as we saw with the Zenimax merger.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Sony said it expects Microsoft to ensure Activision games are multiplatform, as per contractual agreements. The record-breaking acquisition by Sony’s chief rival in the console space already lopped $20 billion off Sony’s valuation due to fears of PlayStation losing the Call of Duty franchise.
In an employee FAQ that Activision submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Activision said it would honor existing commitments after the acquisition closes in 2023 and wouldn’t remove anything from platforms where they’re already available. The company specifically mentioned Minecraft as an example.
Since Microsoft bought Minecraft in 2014 for $2.5 billion, it has maintained the versions for PlayStation, Nintendo, and Apple platforms that had already been released. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has also already said the company doesn’t intend to “pull communities away” from Sony’s platform.
The future of Activision and Blizzard’s games will likely play out similarly to that of Bethesda’s games. After Microsoft bought Zenimax, it maintained timed exclusivity for Deahtloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Quake remaster launched on PlayStation last year as planned, and Bethesda still supports the PlayStation version of Elder Scrolls Online with new content and DLC. However, future games like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI will be exclusive to Xbox and Windows.
Activision Blizzard’s current ongoing projects for PlayStation include this year’s and next year’s Call of Duty games, Overwatch 2, and Diablo IV. Those games will probably still launch with PlayStation versions, and it’s reasonable to assume Call of Duty Warzone on PlayStation won’t disappear.