Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard (ABK) is more than Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date; it’s also a historic moment for fans of Call of Duty, StarCraft, Diablo, and World of Warcraft franchises. The tech giant has announced that it will bring all ABK’s gaming titles to Xbox Game Pass, the subscription service for its gaming platforms. However, this has also raised some concerns among console gamers, specifically PlayStation console owners, regarding their favorite gaming titles being turned into Xbox exclusives.
According to Polygon, the acquisition of Activision Blizzard will be a major boon for the Game Pass subscription service that offers games for Microsoft’s gaming platforms, as it stands to enrich Xbox’s library of titles with world-class gaming experiences. As per our previous report, Microsoft has confirmed that ABK’s games are coming to Game Pass, but not likely before 2023, when the deal is expected to be finalized. But what does that mean for gamers on other platforms, like Sony’s PlayStation console, that continues to outsell Microsoft’s newest Xbox Series X/S?
The PlayStation gaming communities are concerned about having some of their favorite titles, like Call of Duty and Overwatch, turned into Xbox exclusives — and Microsoft hasn’t offered a clear response. The head of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, has previously stated that they’ll offer as many ABK titles as possible within the Game Pass. With that said, other titles that operate on their own subscription-based model, like World of Warcraft, might be excluded from the Game Pass or any other subscription service run by Microsoft.
Admittedly, Microsoft and Sony have been at each other’s throats ever since the PlayStation 2/Xbox era, with PlayStation outperforming Xbox in sales for the better part of three decades now. On the other hand, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft have had long-standing cooperation, considering that the Xbox Live service made Call of Duty into the world’s best-known first-person shooter experience — and Activision Blizzard’s largest profit generator.
As a result, the acquisition of ABK will most likely affect PlayStation, at least to a degree. For example, suppose Microsoft pulls all Activision Blizzard titles, like Call of Duty and Overwatch, from the PlayStation marketplace. In that case, it stands to lose a significant portion of its customers and probably face a massive backlash from the gaming community. Of course, considering Microsoft’s size, they probably wouldn’t care anyway. However, keeping said games available to PlayStation gamers could be Microsoft’s slap to the face of Sony.
By keeping the aforementioned titles available to PlayStation gamers, Microsoft stands to make a profit from either Sony or PlayStation gamers directly, through various subscriptions. This means that Sony will, indirectly, pour funds into Microsoft’s gaming services (hardware and subscriptions), fueling the further development of its gaming hardware. Paired with Microsoft’s recent shift in focus toward producing more Xbox Series S consoles rather than Series X, the acquisition of Activision Blizzard could finally make Microsoft the strongest kid on the playground, at least in terms of gaming.
So, things are likely to remain as they are, at least for the major part. Microsoft is expected to leave PlayStation gamers to their own devices while releasing just some newly developed ABK content as Xbox exclusives. Interestingly enough, no one mentioned Nintendo Switch.