The FTC's case against Microsoft over its attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard has dredged up some juicy intel on Sony's successor to the PlayStation 5. Microsoft said the “expected starting period” of the next generation of game consoles, aka the next Xbox and PlayStation 6, is 2028.
That's according to court documents made public this week, as reviewed by IGN, from the ongoing legal battle between Microsoft and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission regarding the massive $68.7 billion acquisition. That 2028 timeframe lines up with what we've heard of Sony's plans from court documents in the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review of the merger. Sony doesn't plan to release the PS6 until at least after 2027, the company indicated in documents submitted to the court last Fall.
Sony's expressed concerns that a Microsoft-owned Activision Blizzard could turn the popular Call of Duty series into an Xbox exclusive. In documents released this week, Microsoft said, should the deal go through, it's committed to releasing Call of Duty games on PlayStation platforms for at least the next 10 years.
“This term would in any case go beyond the expected starting period of the next generation of consoles (in 2028),” Microsoft said. “Thus, Call of Duty will be published on successor PlayStation consoles should one be released during the term of the agreement. The agreement also would ensure that Call of Duty console games are offered on PlayStation at parity with Xbox.”
PS6: A long way to go
Given that the gaps between PlayStation consoles have been pretty consistent, this 2028 timeline tracks. Six years separated the original PlayStation and PS2, then another six before the PS3. The PS4 arrived seven years later in 2013, with the PS5 following in 2020. With that in mind, it's easy to see how a six- to eight-year gap for this console generation could be in the cards.
Still unclear is whether we'll see another mid-cycle upgrade like PS4 Pro. But there's certainly plenty of demand for something akin to a PS5 Pro or PS5 Slim to materialize while the PS5 is still Sony's go-to console.
For now, the PS6's launch will remain as mysterious as ever, so looks like we'll just have to wait patiently for more details to be confirmed. In the meantime, check out the best PS5 games and our PSVR 2 review to see if Sony's revamped VR headset is right for you.
More to be revealed
Looking ahead, it's possible new details about the next console generation could emerge as Microsoft's legal saga continue.
Its battle with the FTC initially kicked off in December. That's when the federal regulator announced plans to block Microsoft's planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Recently a federal court in California issued a temporary restraining order requested by the FTC that essentially puts the deal on hold for now.
This week's trial centered on the FTC's request for a preliminary injunction on Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. This would prevent the acquisition from moving forward until the FTC has finished reviewing its compliance with U.S. antitrust law.
An evidentiary hearing between Microsoft and the FTC is scheduled for August 2, opening up new opportunities for industry insider info to trickle down to the public. And hopefully more details about what to expect with the next console generation.
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Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.
Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats. She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.