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Sony Expects 'Microsoft Will Abide by Contractual Agreements and Ensure Activision Games are Multiplatform'

Sony Expects 'Microsoft Will Abide by Contractual Agreements and Ensure Activision Games are Multiplatform' - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 February 2022 / 3,113 Views

Microsoft's announcement this week that it is acquiring Activision Blizzard in a deal worth $68.7 billion has left some speculation as to whether future Activision Blizzard games will become Xbox console exclusive or will they still come to PlayStation consoles.

A Sony spokesperson in a statement to The Wall Street Journal expects Microsoft to follow contractual obligations that are already in place once the deal closes and that Activision games will remain multiplatform.

"We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform," said the spokesperson.

Microsoft when it acquired Bethesda's parent company ZeniMax did follow contractual obligations already in place as Deathloop launched as a PS5 console exclusive and GhostWire: Tokyo will also launch only on PS5. Psychonauts 2, which was already announced for PS4 when the studio Double Fine was acquired, still launched for PS4 at launch. 

What is not known is what Microsoft will do once the contractual obligations end. However, we do know Starfield and Redfall, which are new IPs, will launch exclusively on Xbox and PC.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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68 Comments
thevideogameninja (on 20 January 2022)

-"expects Microsoft to follow contractual obligations that are already in place once the deal closes and that Activision games will remain multiplatform"-

But once those contractual obligations are fulfilled then guess what?

I think even the biggest critics of Microsoft know where this is headed.

-VIDEOGAME CONTRACT NINJA APPROVED-

  • +23
scrapking thevideogameninja (on 20 January 2022)

My guess is that certain things are too big to go exclusive, at least at this time. Perhaps if Microsoft pushes the competition into a protracted period of decline that might change, but Call of Duty (for example) is likely too big to not also go on PS. It isn't just about the CoD revenue on PS, but also not wanting to push the brand into decline by reducing its player base. Same as how Microsoft has kept Minecraft multi-platform, and has kept updating existing games on PS (Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 76, Doom Eternal, etc.).

But any completely new IP will likely not come to PS. Some might come to Switch though.

And there might be some revivals of beloved franchises that don't come to PS.

And there's an outside potential that, in the same way you need an EA account to play Battlefield, or an Ubisoft account to play R6, that perhaps a day will come where you need to register for a free (non-Gold) Xbox account to play Call of Duty on PS. I think that's already happening on first-party PC games.

  • +4
SecondWar scrapking (on 20 January 2022)

I agree about Call of Duty but I don’t believe that Fallout 5 and Elder Scrolls 6 will be multiple platform

  • +3
scrapking SecondWar (on 23 January 2022)

Yeah, that's a solid analysis. I think Microsoft will be more strongly tempted to keep multiplayer games cross-platform, but will feel more pressure to make singleplayer experiences exclusive. Sony doesn't really threaten Microsoft when it comes to multiplayer experiences, it's the singleplayer narrative-driven experiences where Microsoft needs to compete with Sony harder.

  • 0
Shiken (on 20 January 2022)

Of course current contracts will be honored and old games will be supported. MS has already done this. But all new games and sequels will be exclusive. The "ensure future activision games are multiplat" line from a Sony rep is nothing short of a PR response to their stock dropping.

  • +9
Hiku Shiken (on 20 January 2022)

The "future" line didn't come from the Sony rep. That was seemingly from this article writer. His actual quote just said Activision games. And since he specified contractual agreements, it should be referring to only those.

  • +4
Shiken Hiku (on 20 January 2022)

Ah so more clickbait. Makes sense because that would be a bold statement for a Sony rep to make out of the blue like that.

  • +1
Hiku Shiken (on 20 January 2022)

Yeah, though I imagine it may have been a misinterpretation from the article author. Should probably edit that out in that case. ;)

  • 0
Chazore (on 20 January 2022)

I mean, current contracts would make sense, and new IP's and sequels going forward that aren't under the current contractual agreement will likely be then made exclusive to Xbox going forward.

Unless Sony is fine with paying their competition some weird (yes weird, because MS owns Acti now, it wouldn't make sense from a business pov) idea of paying Acti in the future to make more CoD games/DLC temp exclusive to PS consoles.

  • +8
aTokenYeti Chazore (on 20 January 2022)
  • -11
2zosteven (on 20 January 2022)

no shit! this is not the NFL.

  • +4
Bandorr 2zosteven (on 20 January 2022)

Despite not following NFL I some what get this reference.

  • +5
Otter (on 20 January 2022)

It'll be curious to see what happens with Overwatch 2. Unless I'm mistaken, no platforms have been announced for it yet?

  • +3
StayPuffMarshmallow Otter (on 22 January 2022)

If Bethesda is any indication of how Microsoft would treat Activision, then things like Overwatch. Warcraft. Warzone would stay multiplat. Besides Activision will act as they normally do (no changes in business plans) and Microsoft can't legally influence/make any decisions with Activision until the acquisition is complete. That is why Phil Spencer's words (i.e.tweets) are somewhat cryptic. Overwatch 2 will come to PS that is obvious because it will be released long before this deal is completed 18 months from now (June of 2023)

  • 0
LudicrousSpeed (on 20 January 2022)

I think we all expect this given what they did in regard to Bethesda games. Already existing deals will be honored, already released games will continue to be updated and supported, future big titles are likely Xbox/PC only.

  • +2
DialgaMarine (on 24 January 2022)

CoD’s been done for a while now. This is the time for Sony to invest in their multiplayer titles, specifically a couple shooters.

  • +1
SecondWar (on 20 January 2022)

So when is this contract that Activision have with Sony to promote CoD on PS due to expire?

  • +1
yvanjean (on 20 January 2022)

Really it doesn't matter if it comes to PS5 for $69.99 when it comes day 1 on Gamepass. But, I expect the same thing to happen here that happened with Bethesda acquisition. Future game after contractual agreement will be Xbox and PC exclusive.

  • +1
method114 yvanjean (on 20 January 2022)

It depends. While you see only se 69.99 vs $10month. Other people see $120 a year for only one game when that's all the want. I think a serious amount of people underestimate just how little games the mass population plays. I know so many people who only play COD and have no interest in any other games because frankly they don't even have the time. MS needs to remove COD from the Sony ecosystem that's how they can really do damage.

  • +3
Bandorr method114 (on 20 January 2022)

Being online you need XBL. So $15 a month, $180 a year. Along with needing to get the console etc.

  • +5
mjk45 Bandorr (on 22 January 2022)

Gamepass ultimate includes Live , but if your me you treat it like a cheap smorgasbord get one of those $1 for 3 months gamepass ultimate deals then go home to Sony for a nice home cooked meal.

  • 0
Bandorr mjk45 (on 22 January 2022)

Game pass ultimate is $15 though, regular game pass is $10.
But yeah those deals are insane.

  • 0
Shinobi-san method114 (on 20 January 2022)

Provided that the goal is to damage Sony. We may see gamepass on PS afterall - if Sony continues to be relevant in the console space.

  • +2
Vizigoth04 (on 20 January 2022)

I mean Phil is all about Cross Play so I get the incentive to keep the player base intact with PlayStation.

  • 0
Bandorr (on 20 January 2022)

"Contractual Agreements" is an interesting phrase.

  • 0
Imaginedvl Bandorr (on 20 January 2022)

Except it is not :) This is just damage control PR.

  • -3
DonFerrari (on 20 January 2022)

Because doing otherwise would bring more issues than it is worth.

  • 0
BuckStud (on 23 January 2022)

Question is, had Sony bought them would they?

  • -1
VAMatt (on 20 January 2022)

I think Microsoft might use this to try to pressure Sony into making a good deal for them to put game pass on PlayStation.

  • -1
aTokenYeti (on 20 January 2022)

The wording here is more “in addition to honoring contractual agreements”, not “we have contractual agreements to keep all the games multi platform”.

I think it’s clear that internally Sony is extremely worried and they are going to try and do everything in their power to keep all of call of duty on their platform. I don’t think they will succeed

  • -1
rapsuperstar31 (on 20 January 2022)

Maybe not on the PS5 but its getting more and more inevitable that gamepass will one day be on a Sony console, assuming we still have console beyond the PS5/Xbox Series.

  • -1
Imaginedvl rapsuperstar31 (on 20 January 2022)

Yah well... The issue is that is that Sony needs to accept GP on their console sooner than later... Because at some point Microsoft will not want it.
At the same time, Sony is probably coming with the GP answer and we will probably hear about it this month. I'm super excited by those rumors saying that "Play Station 3" games MAY be playable on the Play Station Five with the new service too. But we will see.
But if they come up with their own service, there is no way after that GP will be on Play Station.

  • -7
Dulfite Imaginedvl (on 20 January 2022)

The problem with Sony's Gamepass is that they are losing access to a LOT of future ips with all these Microsoft purchases. When we compare what's on MS's Gamepass by 2025 vs. what's on PS's Gamepass by 2025, there is going to be a LOT more new content and legacy content on MS's.

  • 0
Imaginedvl Dulfite (on 20 January 2022)

Oh you are absolutely right but I think Sony is going to try fighting instead of giving up to GP. Is it the right business decision? Not sure :) But I believe (based on thin air ;-)) that this is what they will do.

  • +4
Dulfite Imaginedvl (on 20 January 2022)

For sure, and many millions of PlayStation gamers will love having all those games on a Gamepass-like service. It just won't be filled with nearly as many games as MS's.

  • 0
UteGuy Dulfite (on 20 January 2022)

Not as many maybe, but quantity has never been as important as quality to PS gamers. I would wager they would still think Sony would have the best games on their service based on Sony creating some of the best, if not the best, all around games available.

  • +4
Imaginedvl UteGuy (on 20 January 2022)

There is not such thing as "quality" for PS gamer... It is the same for all gamers... Seriously, I know this sounds good while saying it, but pretending that other gamers (PC, Xbox, Nintendo) are not in for the same thing is pretty wrong.
That's a narrative Sony always played on, like Apple to build brand loyalty...

  • -4
Hynad Imaginedvl (on 20 January 2022)

Humour me. Tell us why are Nintendo’s fans so loyal and sticking with them?

  • +5
Imaginedvl Hynad (on 20 January 2022)

Nah. Not going to waste time.
Edit: Actually just realize that you pretty much missed my point.
My point is that ALL gamers from ALL platformers want quality games, "PS gamers" are not specials or different...

Thinking that Play Station is a special place is ridiculous. They are like the 2 others, trying their best to bring out as many games as possible to make money. And quality-wise, we could see that Microsoft too pulled out some quality game this year.

Brand loyalty is dumb from the start. But don't mix brand loyalty with something else. I love Nintendo because of some of their franchise. Mario, Metroid, etc... Nothing to do with the "quality" of their games being higher than the 2 others, and vice-et-versa.

I know for some, it feels good to think they are special in their brand loyalty non-sense. But that's all it is, brand loyalty non sense.

  • -9
Qwark Imaginedvl (on 21 January 2022)

Yet usually 5 games out of a top 10 off all time games are usually Nintendo games. It's not about having a vision of quality games it's actually making them which will generate brand loyalty.

  • +1
Imaginedvl Qwark (on 21 January 2022)

Yet you are just talking about something else... Of course, good games build brand loyalty lol. You guys are so focused on defending your plastic box that you do not even understand the point.

Quality does not make Sony special, that's the point. Sony does not have a differentiator that makes them "the" place to go if you want "quality" games... Esp. today. The UteGuy is basically saying that Play Station is the only special place where you can get quality games... Like the 2 others are not doing the same...

Yes, Sony came out with very good games and their studios, but this is not because they are different.. It was just bad circumstances during the last-gen because Microsoft was in deep shit, no studios, exclusives, etc.., and I would also argue that Nintendo came up with better games overall...
Before that (and of course, they will argue), on the 360, Play Station did not have "more" quality games... And will probably not for this gen looking at how it started.

Exclusives != Quality

  • -1
UteGuy Imaginedvl (on 21 January 2022)

I never said it was the only place you could get quality games, I said that many PS gamers felt Sony deliveres the best ones, not by buying up a chunk of historically 3rd parties, but by creating them in house, much like Nintendo fans feel about Nintendo 1st party.

Yes MS will have many great quality games, but Sony does produce some of the absolute best and most popular franchises regardless of how many there are. MS couldn't change that with any purchase and PS fans will never not value that the same way as they always have whether on console or streaming. Same concept exactly for Nintendo and its fans.

  • +2
StayPuffMarshmallow UteGuy (on 22 January 2022)

Stop with the old quality argument. Both will have quality, Last year and what we see coming from Microsoft tells you that. And yes Sony will have quality not saying it won't, but MS will too.

The first problem I see with Sony is they don't release enough games. That is something a subscription service like this needs: constant influx of new content. And it is something that Xbox has been working on making sure their studios can start providing Game Pass on a consistent basis and they have been building those plans for several years now. Sony will need at least 4 AAA games a year (one a quarter). Not old content a year later but new releases. And fill in the gaps between those releases with smaller games from first-party, second-party and third-party. And further add in the games released. And then you have your older third-party content that comes and goes from the catalog. You can't let lulls happen that is when people venture elsewhere (unsubscribe). Now this is solvable. Not saying it isn't but, it will take a couple of years to build up that ability.

Secondly, it will be a huge expense and will affect Sony's bottom line negatively for years to come in order to grow the service to be similar to Game Pass. Which short term means it will affect the stock prices (we don't care but the board and investors do). It definitely means less profits. Ryan and the Sony board have to be willing to go all in not half-ass. That means day and date.

  • -1
Hiku Dulfite (on 20 January 2022)

I don't expect Sony's version to be much more than a PS Now included with a PS Plus subscription (at a higher PS+ price tier). I don't think they're doing the same thing as Gamepass per say, because it's too much of a long term investment and probably being in the red for years before it becomes profitable.

  • +4
StayPuffMarshmallow Dulfite (on 22 January 2022)

That is if Sony doesn't take the approach, we know is inevitable and that is day one first-party on their Game Pass competitor Spartacus. If they keep the course and add a few more studios they will be fine with their service being distinct and plenty of new recent content not in Game Pass.

By the way who at Sony/SIE thought code naming their Game Pass competitor Spartacus was a good idea? Maybe without thinking they are just foreshadowing the future. Yes, Spartacus rose and led a slave revolt against the Romans (Game Pass I suppose), but he was also killed in battle in the revolt and then 6,000 slaves who survived the revolt were then captured by the Romans and crucified lining the Appian Way from Rome to Capua. In other words, it didn't work out too well for Spartacus and the slaves.

  • -1
mjk45 StayPuffMarshmallow (on 22 January 2022)

Its a great codename because Spartacus shows that they playing a really really really long game, and while they lost a battle , where is the fucking Roman empire now just history while the revolution lives on.
PS. that living on may be in the form of a game show called Gladiators but it still lives.

  • 0
SecondWar rapsuperstar31 (on 20 January 2022)

I can’t really see any circumstance where Xbox Gamepass will release on PlayStation.

  • +5
Jumpinbeans SecondWar (on 20 January 2022)

There is a clear and obvious one - MSFT say all games are on gamepass exclusive. If you want to play them on playstation then you allow gamepass. Puts Sony in a difficult position especially if they carry on buying them developers up.

  • -4
SecondWar Jumpinbeans (on 20 January 2022)

How is that ‘clear and obvious’? And why would MS want you to play them on PS? They’d much rather you played them on Xbox.
And whilst I could see MS buying some smaller publishers or developers, after Activision a merger with another major publisher would be much more likely to be blocked.

  • +2
rapsuperstar31 SecondWar (on 21 January 2022)

Console makers usually lose money on the console. The more places you can subscribe to gamepass the more money Microsoft will make.

  • 0
SecondWar rapsuperstar31 (on 21 January 2022)

Except gamepass itself isn’t profitable at present either. It’s seems to work as a loss leader to get more people onto the console.

  • 0
Jumpinbeans SecondWar (on 22 January 2022)

Is it not profitable up to a point. It’s like Netflix…with 10mile ion subscribers it loses money with 110million it makes money. Gamepass may well be currently losing money but when it hits a profitable level it’s self sustaining. If there is no other alternative at this point then the barriers to entry will be so much more difficult. I can see EA play being in an awkward position ….almost becoming a subsidiary but at the same time being independent. They’ll probably be forced to leave GP by regulators.

  • -1
mjk45 SecondWar (on 22 January 2022)

because MS eventually want get out of hardware and their aim is to deliver that content everywhere and that means the Cloud /PC and Playstation if it continues to have future hardware.

  • 0

If there is no console, then it won't be coming to PS. :) It may come to Sony's TVs at that point as an app just like PS will be without a console. In all actuality, it will probably come to Sony's TVs as an app sometime this year whether or not Xbox or PS still make plastic boxes in your dystopian future (/jk). Maybe not ready to go when starting your TV for the first time but because Sony TVs are Google based that means you could just easily download the Game Pass app will be in the TV app store. I expect Microsoft has been working deals to have Game Pass front and center when you start you TV for the first time when it goes out of beta this year.

  • -1