Sony responds to Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Daniel Sims

Posts: 396   +17
Staff
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.

Image credit: News Oresund (CC BY 2.0)

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Shear

Posts: 35   +27
I am sure MS will honor the contracts as they did with Deathloop. But anybody who thinks that MS just spent 69b to play nice is probably wrong. Once the contracts lapse or end or whatever it will be just as Zenimax stuff, exclusive to PC/Xbox.

Warzone will continue to be multiple but new standalone CoD games will be PC/Xbox exclusives.

Diablo 4 Xbox for sure, the game is way too far from launch for it already be tied to PS. Overwatch 2, same.

People really haven't felt this yet, but I suspect the peak of salt will reach when Starfield comes out and it ain't on PlayStation.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,077   +5,609
I am sure MS will honor the contracts as they did with Deathloop. But anybody who thinks that MS just spent 69b to play nice is probably wrong. Once the contracts lapse or end or whatever it will be just as Zenimax stuff, exclusive to PC/Xbox.

Warzone will continue to be multiple but new standalone CoD games will be PC/Xbox exclusives.

Diablo 4 Xbox for sure, the game is way too far from launch for it already be tied to PS. Overwatch 2, same.

People really haven't felt this yet, but I suspect the peak of salt will reach when Starfield comes out and it ain't on PlayStation.

I don't know why anyone would even play a Bugthesda game on a console. Modders have to fix everything which is far more difficult on a locked-down platform.
 

McMurdeR

Posts: 482   +609
Wow. MS has gotten very serious about competing in gaming. They've got their mojo back on Xbox, and they've completely turned around their erstwhile awful reputation on PC. And while they never managed to build it from the ground up, they've bought their way into a lot of big exclusives.

Sony needs to get back to publishing loads of good exclusives - they've been far too slow getting them out on PS5. They've also dragged their feet reforming their subscription services - it's been clear that they've needed to catch up with MS's Gamepass for months.

I don't think Sony are down and out by any means, but the initiative is clearly with MS atm.
 

Shear

Posts: 35   +27
I don't know why anyone would even play a Bugthesda game on a console. Modders have to fix everything which is far more difficult on a locked-down platform.
Not everyone can afford a PC, some people just like the easy of it all for consoles. Can't blame them. To each his own right?
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,842   +3,615
TechSpot Elite
I am sure MS will honor the contracts as they did with Deathloop. But anybody who thinks that MS just spent 69b to play nice is probably wrong. Once the contracts lapse or end or whatever it will be just as Zenimax stuff, exclusive to PC/Xbox.

Warzone will continue to be multiple but new standalone CoD games will be PC/Xbox exclusives.

Diablo 4 Xbox for sure, the game is way too far from launch for it already be tied to PS. Overwatch 2, same.

People really haven't felt this yet, but I suspect the peak of salt will reach when Starfield comes out and it ain't on PlayStation.
Eh, there's still an argument to be made about "reaching more people by putting it on more platforms".

We'll see how far MS goes in the coming years to reach as wide an audience as they can...
 

Shear

Posts: 35   +27
Eh, there's still an argument to be made about "reaching more people by putting it on more platforms".

We'll see how far MS goes in the coming years to reach as wide an audience as they can...
I'm definitely curious to see what happens in the next few years.
 

GamerNerves

Posts: 170   +106
As a PC gamer these exclusivity decisions don't concern me regarding Xbox titles, but I certainly don't like the tone of these news. I'd imagine it's always in the end more profitable to sell your game for as large audience as possible rather than limiting customer base. The principle should be to design your console as well as possible and Microsoft has already done a great job with Xbox this generation. I wouldn't go the exclusivity road, I find it shortsighted.
 
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brucek

Posts: 1,104   +1,620
I'd love to see the official internal spreadsheets they use for modeling exclusivity vs wide release (of course I never will.)

I feel like the the optimal answer is the minimal number of exclusives so as to not lose a gamer entirely to another platform, but wide release otherwise. Some of these franchises probably have lifetime profit values will in excess of a console sale, that is not something you'd want to throw away casually.
 

Biostud

Posts: 80   +41
If you can't afford a PC then you need to get back to work.
With the current video card prices, you get quite a lot of gaming with a console and a game pass for the same amount of money as a gaming pc would cost.

(I haven't owned a console since atari 2600)
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 574   +1,052
Sony needs to get back to publishing loads of good exclusives - they've been far too slow getting them out on PS5. They've also dragged their feet reforming their subscription services - it's been clear that they've needed to catch up with MS's Gamepass for months.
To slow? As opposed to MS launching diddly squat new IPs in the 1st year of XSX? Yeah, too slow... compared to all the exclusives Sony launched in the 1st year.

Could have been more? Sure, but MS did zero, so anything about zero is better and Sony did just that.

Now look at 2022 and how many are planned for PS5 and only this year MS has something new too. So let's see if MS can impress, because Sony keeps doing that for years, while I've been waiting for a great MS game for years...

Only zombie consumers care about a sea of mediocre games in GP... I'd rather have 5 great games on PS, than 100 mediocre on GP.

Also, Sony needs to improve their services yes, but they don't need nor will they copy GP.

Even with this humongous buyout of MS trying to jump Sony, they are still behind in revenue in gaming, so as long as Sony does not fall waaay dawn the ladder, even if in a few years MS gets ahead and Sony drops to 3rd, still is not the end of the world for them... if that ever happens. And that's a big IF.

Sony still has time to triple down on more quality exclusives than ever, which they can do, they proved it for many years. MS proved it can only buy studios, but not that they can make amazing new games... not yet.

When MS launches a great new (IP) game from one of their bought out studios, then I'll be impressed. I'm still waiting...
 

NumberSix

Posts: 131   +189
Even if COD went exclusive I'm not sure it would have a massive impact on PlayStation, out of all my "friends" I only ever see 2 playing COD (1 on PS5 & 1 on PS4), I see many more playing FIFA.

Time for Sony to dig out Resistance and Killzone maybe if they want a guaranteed FPS.
 

dangh

Posts: 503   +771
Microsoft needs Sony staying on market, so they be safe from monopoly claims. But MS will leverage his position and moneyu he can pur on the market to ensure that Sony will accept MS Game Pass on their platform, and will squeeze developers as well. Same like Intel was helping at some stage to keep AMD afloat just to be sure they can say 'but we have competition!'
MS wants to make money on anything game related. Which is normal, but unfortunatelly their goal is to milk anything they can. Sony to keep access to CoD and other games will have to meet MS demands (and MS will demand that Sony will allow MS GP on their platform in order to keep access to bought IP's). If MS additionally buy any other large gaming company like ubi or take two or EA - then Sony will become secondary company with no real impact on industry. and MS will be able to do what they want, similarly to what Apple is doing now in US.
Funny thing, this acquisition is not only against sony. It is aiming at Steam and Epic as well, and put pressure on Tencent.
Additionally, last Sony decissions are crap. Putting their games multiplatform would be fine in a healthy market, but now it will reduce interest in PlayStation platform. I haven't start my ps5 for months now. I love all Sony games, was middle in Ghost of Tsushima, which looks absolutely beautiful, but now I'm waiting for PC release so I can enjoy it ultrawide with even nicer looking scenery. I'd rather have Kaz back, or maybe Yoshida take the helm, than all those stupid ceos being clueless.
People often are saying that if something is free, then you're the commodity. MS understands it perfectly and GP is great example of that. GaaS is simply a great scheme to ensure crap titles created with MT in mind and ensuring people will spend time to maximise dev profits. We got now NFT and thousands of mindless people adding to this baloon. Those are great techniques ensutring that you will be always bleeding money wherever possible thinking you do a smart thing. And only biggest companies will gain on that totally killing any sensible competition. Or simply waiting for them to grow and buying them.
 

3ogdy

Posts: 47   +25
I don't know about this but...

Microsoft has been playing nice with other platforms for a while, especially since Satya Nadella took over. You know... subsystem for Linux, Google Play Games bringing Android gaming to Windows, Office for Android and iOS et al.

Then what? Microsoft not bringing Microsoft Games to PS? It seems strange.
Plus, supporting PlayStation is still an easier money-making decision. After all, as a PS owner and a CoD fan, one would be more likely to pay Microsoft for a PS game than to go out and buy a whole new platform (Xbox).

I guess time will tell.
 

Shear

Posts: 35   +27
I don't know about this but...

Microsoft has been playing nice with other platforms for a while, especially since Satya Nadella took over. You know... subsystem for Linux, Google Play Games bringing Android gaming to Windows, Office for Android and iOS et al.

Then what? Microsoft not bringing Microsoft Games to PS? It seems strange.
Plus, supporting PlayStation is still an easier money-making decision. After all, as a PS owner and a CoD fan, one would be more likely to pay Microsoft for a PS game than to go out and buy a whole new platform (Xbox).

I guess time will tell.
What if MS Doesn't give you any Blizzard games, any Activision games any Arkane (Dishonored, Deathloop, Pray) games any Bethesda ( Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Starfield) games any id (Doom) games any MachineGames (Wolfernstain) games. And honestly loads more but this is just off the top of my head.

Would you still not even consider getting a new system?
 

ScottSoapbox

Posts: 291   +518
MS makes the same money selling a game on PC, Xbox, or Play Station. It doesn't make money on Xbox hardware.
Excluding Sony = less money.

Timed exclusives, sure.
Full exclusives will be extremely rare.
 

Ironmanajm

Posts: 11   +1
Im not happy with contractual obligations towards Sony, fck that. America is technically still at war with Japan, but not over the barrel of a gun anymore but in the corporate world for sure. It's MS XB (America) vs Sony (Japan). Sony is evil with greed and forcing monstrous prices of their exclusives vs XB releasing theirs on day 1 on gamepass. The choice is clear, XB is now ensuring that the gaming industry will hopefully change for the better, forcing PS to add a similar gamepass service to their platform. Sony only understands one message, when u take then head on and beat them at their own game, hence this is what a much more powerful MS XB is doing and hopefully this will force Sony to cut the BS and not be so greedy, period. This coming from an ex PS gamer myself.
 

EdmondRC

Posts: 241   +327
I think the console wars are over and we are entering a new stage. MS saw this coming because it has already happened to much of the software industry. Thanks to the internet, cloud computing, and digital delivery, digital content in most cases these days does not actually belong to the consumer. MS is not concerned at this moment about the PS vs Xbox war, they are buying up digital content producers in order to own the digital content that you will pay a fee to play. Whether you "purchase" the game on Steam or MS Store or Xbox Store, or you pay a monthly subscription fee to have access to the game on PC or Xbox (and probably other boxes coming soon), MS benefits. Any doubt of this should have disappeared with the ZeniMax acquisition, but this one is even bigger. I don't think that MS cares what platforms sell the digital rights to play their content on. However, some of that is going to depend on Sony and how they proceed. MS will keep exclusive content if Sony does. However, Sony has already likely realized that the console war is over, because they are already developing their own delivery platforms and of course, you are starting to see "exclusives" on PC. My guess is that videogame consoles of the future will be like cellphones players in that they will have to meet some minimum spec in order to play games that meet some generational spec as well as have a standard base OS (like Android phones) that the manufacturers can customize somewhat. Consoles will then be open to many manufacturers to build and likely come in tiers still. It will be kind of like what MS is already doing with the Series X and Series S, I see that as a model for the industry going forward.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 935   +651
Good luck trying, that's not smart at all shame.
That was as adorable as it was misguided. Microsoft is coming very close to having a position of power in the gaming industry that could easily be viewed as an anti-trust violation. They need a swift and harsh smack-down.
 
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poohbear

Posts: 681   +608
Not everyone can afford a PC, some people just like the easy of it all for consoles. Can't blame them. To each his own right?
especially when the graphics card alone costs $1k-$1.5k. and that's IF you can even find one. Such is life in PC land.