After this week’s monumental announcement that Microsoft was purchasing the besieged publisher Activision Blizzard, the industry had a lot of questions. This isn’t a regular purchase by any standard and Microsoft acquiring a massive publisher like Activision will shape the future of the industry in ways we don’t know just yet.
A lot of the focus is currently situated in what this deal means over a short-term and what will happen to Activision Blizzard. In the deal, which is valued at nearly $70 billion, it should be noted that Microsoft is gaining a massive treasure trove of IPs split between both Activision and Blizzard, and I’ve seen a lot of people focusing on what Microsoft can take from Activision moreso than anything. Howver, people forget about King and their offerings in the mobile market, a lucrative business space a lot of people seem to forget generates billions of dollars per year.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Sony had this to say: “We expect that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform,” before Phil Spencer confirmed this to be true later in the day.
A lot of idle chatter has taken place this week across social media and major outlets. Earlier today, Phil Spencer confirmed a few things on Twitter, but even so, there’s a lot to be read between the lines. “Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony [Interactive Entertainment],” Spencer said. “I confirmed our intent to honor all existing agreements upon acquisition of Activision Blizzard and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony is an important part of our industry, and we value our relationship.”
There are a lot of buzzwords in his statement, some might think this means things will continue as they are going forward. Others might think that this means PlayStation will only receive the free-to-play Call of Duty Warzone on consoles. What I believe Phil Spencer is saying is he intends to honour the existing agreements put in place before Activision Blizzard was purchased, similar to how things are with the Bethesda buyout.
We already know Activision Blizzard will not be removing existing games from other platforms going forward. However, Microsoft will need to recoup its investment somehow and whether that means players will now need to own an Xbox console or Game Pass subscription remains to be seen. I’d even wager that games could be timed-exclusive on Xbox before anywhere else and then there’s the argument of paying $15 per month vs the close to $100 per video game on PlayStation.
Spencer has said games like The Elder Scrolls Online will stay multiplatform but also confirmed that Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI will be exclusive to Xbox and Windows 10.
Speaking to The Washington Post, Phil Spencer believes change is in the cards at Activision Blizzard saying to Gene Park that, “I believe the leaders there believe in the opportunity they have in their plan,” and he knows his company will empower the new employees.
Regarding what this means for existing and forgotten IPs, Spencer said he looked at the IP list and found some long-lost titles, “King’s Quest, Guitar Hero, … I should know this but I think they got HeXen. ” Indeed they do, Phil!
Once things settle, it seems like Microsoft will work the developers at Activision Blizzard and discuss with them the variety of franchises available and see what they want to work on.