Last week’s announcement that Microsoft plans to purchase Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7 billion has raised plenty of questions, chief among them is the fate of the Call of Duty franchise on PlayStation. It looks like we might have some clarity on this matter and it's good news for PS5 owners.
Sony had already laid out its stance, with a spokesperson saying: “We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform” and it appears that Microsoft is happy to oblige in this case. Bloomberg reported that the upcoming slate of Call of Duty titles through 2023 will launch on PlayStation systems.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier confirmed on Twitter that even after the acquisition closes next year, a previously inked deal will ensure that Call of Duty 2022 (strongly rumored to be a sequel to 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot), Call of Duty 2023, and a sequel to free-to-play Battle Royale title Call of Duty: Warzone will all launch on the PS5, and potentially the PS4 as well.
Microsoft has also confirmed in a recent blog post that it will continue to bring Call of Duty to PlayStation, beyond the terms of the existing agreement. So, at least for now, we can say that Call of Duty has a future on PlayStation. Whether some spin-off becomes an Xbox and PC exclusive remains to be seen.
NEW: Activision is committed to releasing at least the next three Call of Duty games on PlayStation even after the Xbox acquisition, according to people familiar with the deal. That's COD2022, COD2023, and Warzone 2 (in 2023). After that, it's hazier https://t.co/OpWE7Tk9KVJanuary 25, 2022
This mirrors the approach that Microsoft has taken since it acquired ZeniMax (parent company of Bethesda) in 2020. All contractural agreements signed pre-purchase are currently being honored.
This resulted in Deathloop coming exclusively to PS5 last year, and the upcoming Ghostwire: Tokyo will also launch first on Sony’s next-gen system. However, these games are free to come to Xbox Series X after a period of one-year exclusivity on PS5. Not to mention, games not tied up in pre-existing deals such as Starfield will be Xbox exclusive.
This latest development at least clears up the future of the Call of Duty franchise on PlayStation through until 2023. After that, things become a little murkier. There is a possibility that Microsoft will opt to make the series an Xbox exclusive. After all, Call of Duty is one of the biggest games series in the world, being able to deny its closest competitor access would be a serious boon for Xbox.
Of course, there is also an argument that Microsoft would benefit more from allowing future Call of Duty games on PlayStation. Microsoft would make money from each copy sold on PlayStation, while also making the games available via Xbox Game Pass. This strategy could definitely incentivize a few diehard PS5 players to make the switch to Xbox Series X.
The future of Activision Blizzard titles on PlayStation definitely isn’t solidified, but at least in the foreseeable future, you’ll still be able to play Call of Duty on PS5. Our advice: enjoy it while it lasts.