Sony says that it expects Microsoft to honor contracts it has with Activision and “continue to ensure” that Activision games are released on its platforms – but there’s some room for interpretation about what exactly the PlayStation manufacturer means.
Naturally, after Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion, many began speculating about whether the company would turn traditionally multiplatform releases into Xbox exclusives. Sony has now weighed in on that idea:
“We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform,” said a Sony spokesperson to The Wall Street Journal.
It’s no surprise that Sony would expect Microsoft to honor any current contracts it has with Activision – as it did during the Bethesda takeover, leaving Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo as PS5 console exclusives. It’s not clear what contracts Sony currently has with Activision, nor how long they’re set to last.
It’s also unclear from the wording of the statement whether the spokesperson is referring to specific contracts that ensure Activision games are multiplatform, or if the company more generally expects Microsoft to allow games to be released for PS5 post-acquisition. We’ve contacted Sony for clarity on that point.
The issue of exclusives will be a divisive one in the run-up to the acquisition and beyond. Sources have previously suggested that Microsoft plans to keep selling “some” Activision games on PlayStation, but it’s not yet clear which ones. IGN readers are almost perfectly split on whether they want Activision Blizzard games to become Xbox exclusives, and some investors have clearly been spooked by the move, with almost $20 billion wiped off of Sony’s stock value following the announcement.
In our opinion, gaining the opportunity to release exclusives exclusives isn’t about winning a console war for Xbox – it’s about winning a content war.