The next three titles of "Call of Duty," the hugely popular first-person shooter franchise, will be released on Sony's (SONY) - Get Sony Group Corporation Sponsored ADR Report Playstation, even though the game's publisher, Activision Blizzard's (ATVI) - Get Activision Blizzard, Inc. Report, is being acquired by software giant Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report.
'We Value Our Relationship'
Activision did not respond to a request for comment, but Microsoft gaming CEO Phil Spencer said on Twitter recently that company would "honor all existing agreements."
"Had good calls this week with leaders at Sony," he 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."
The all-cash deal will value Activision, which also publishes "World of Warcraft", at $95 a share, the companies said, making Microsoft, which bought ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion last March, the world's third largest gaming company behind Tencent and Sony.
Sony shares took a hit after the deal was announced as investors believed the company would be the big loser from Microsoft's acquisition.
"Call of Duty" was launched in 2003 and its first six games were about World War II. The series began branching out with "Modern Warfare" and now spans the Second World War, the Cold War, as well as the present, near future and far future.
As of April 2021, the series has generated more than 400 million lifetime unit sales, up from its previous milestone of 300 million unit sales in May 2019, and making it one of the bestselling and top grossing video game franchises worldwide.
A Major Blow?
"Call of Duty: Vanguard" was the top selling video game of 2021, according to NDP Group, followed by "Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War."
The first PlayStation was released in Japan 1994 and worldwide the following year. PlayStation 2 is the best-selling game system overall with over 155 million units worldwide.
The news regarding PlayStation stirred up a variety of opinions on social media.
"If Playstation loses COD, it's going to be a MAJOR blow," one person said on Twitter. "Remember the facts everyone: The grand majority of PS4 users don't own a single PS exclusive."
"Let's look at the future," another person tweeted. "Microsoft makes cod exclusive, anti trust laws say its a monopoly, they get shut down and plus people working in activision blizzard companies leaving because they don't wana work for Microsoft, all Microsoft cares for is money not how good the game should (be)."
Earlier this month, Sony partially unveiled PlayStation VR2, the new generation of its virtual reality headset, for the hard-to-find PS5 console.
The company also said that the popular game franchise “Horizon Call of the Mountain” will have an exclusive installment built specifically for PS VR2.