Microsoft says it will keep Call of Duty on PlayStation ‘beyond the existing agreement’

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Microsoft says the Call of Duty franchise and other popular cross-platform Activision Blizzard games will remain available on PlayStation if and when its $68.7 billion acquisition goes through.

“To be clear, Microsoft will continue to make Call of Duty and other popular Activision Blizzard titles available on PlayStation through the term of any existing agreement with Activision,” Microsoft says. “And we have committed to Sony that we will also make them available on PlayStation beyond the existing agreement and into the future so that Sony fans can continue to enjoy the games they love.”

This means that in addition to Call of Duty, other Activision Blizzard titles, like Diablo and Overwatch, should also remain available as cross-platform games. Last month, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft pledged to bring “the next few” Call of Duty games to PlayStation “for at least two years” before the acquisition was made public.

After those two years pass, it’s up to Microsoft to decide if it wants to continue releasing Call of Duty (and likely other cross-platform Activision Blizzard games) on PlayStation. Microsoft has said it expects the deal to close in the next six to 18 months, which means we may not hear a final answer regarding the exclusivity of the games for quite some time.

While Microsoft is certainly making it seem like it wants to keep Activision Blizzard titles cross-platform, existing precedents have indicated otherwise. After Microsoft acquired Bethesda last year, it promised to retain existing contractual agreements with PlayStation, such as with Deathloop, but still released Bethesda titles, Redfall and Starfield as Xbox and PC exclusives.

In its announcement, Microsoft also said it plans on “taking similar steps to support Nintendo’s successful platform.” The announcement comes as Microsoft plans to introduce Open App Store Principles, which Microsoft says will promote competition in app stores as regulators close in anticompetitive behavior.

There’s one notable exception to its Open App Store plans, however — the Xbox Store. According to Microsoft, “Gaming consoles, specifically, are sold to gamers at a loss to establish a robust and viable ecosystem for game developers. The costs are recovered later through revenue earned in the dedicated console store.” The principles laid out will not apply “immediately and wholesale” on Xbox, but the company referred to “closing the gap” between reality and its stated principles without giving a clear timeline.

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