Also, the Redmond folks have confirmed that Call of Duty will not be pulled from the PlayStation platforms (perhaps to get the acquisition approved by US regulators).
On Bloomberg, we can read about the mood inside Activision Blizzard after Microsoft announced the acquisition (which will take a good year in the process…). There is cautious optimism within the publisher, as the merger into Microsoft, specifically Xbox Game Studios, and the departure of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick have delighted employees, who are excited to have much more creative freedom under Xbox.
However, there is the fear of layoffs, but the most important thing is that the drop of the annual release of Call of Duty is on the table within the publisher. Ubisoft also pushed for one game a year for Assassin’s Creed back in the day, but they changed their mind at the last minute and switched to a more irregular schedule with Assassin’s Creed: Origins. That way, the studios wouldn’t be strained, even though ActiBlizz is rotating its cash-cow franchise between three teams.
Xbox CEO Phil Spencer confirmed in a tweet, “[I] had good calls this week with leaders at Sony [Interactive Entertainment]. I confirmed our intention to honour all existing agreements upon acquiring 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.” (And the two companies are already working together on cloud technologies in the background!)
Spencer also told the Washington Post that he hopes to bring the publisher’s many IPs to life. Once the acquisition closes (it’s supposed to happen by June 2023), he says, “We’re hoping that we’ll be able to work with them when the deal closes to make sure we have resources to work on franchises that I love from my childhood and that the teams want to get. I’m looking forward to these conversations. I think it’s about adding resources and increasing capability. […] I was looking at the IP list. I mean, let’s go! King’s Quest, Guitar Hero… I should know this, but I think they got HeXen.” (He is correct: Activision published the second Hexen.)
Things are slowly evolving.