Microsoft is signaling a cease fire of sorts ahead of its regulatory review of its $68B acquisition of Activision Blizard and puts in writing assurances to Sony gamers that games will remain cross-platform.
Microsoft posted a rather lengthy explanation of its new app store principles the company plans to adhere to in the "emerging new era of tech regulation."
Among some of the highlight principles were accountability, quality, safety, security, privacy, fairness and transparency. However, tucked away towards the end of the post is a call out to Microsoft's recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard and how the company plans to apply those principles to the new deal.
We also recognize that regulators may well have other important questions as they review our acquisition of Activision Blizzard. We’re committed to addressing every potential question, and we want to address publicly at the outset two such questions here.
First, some commentators have asked whether we will continue to make popular content like Activision’s Call of Duty available on competing platforms like Sony’s PlayStation. The obvious concern is that Microsoft could make this title available exclusively on the Xbox console, undermining opportunities for Sony PlayStation users.
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. 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. We are also interested in taking similar steps to support Nintendo’s successful platform. We believe this is the right thing for the industry, for gamers and for our business.
Acknowledging the legalese used in the above statement, it appears that big named cross-platform titles will remain so for the foreseeable future on PlayStation, Xbox, PC and with a nod to partnerships with Nintendo.
Microsoft also goes on to clarify why other commitments haven't been made regarding its Activision purchase as it says regulations are still being drawn up at the moment.
Emerging legislation is not being written for specialized computing devices, like gaming consoles, for good reasons.
While Microsoft seems confident enough to put in writing its intention to keep its Activision IP cross-platform, there are still ten more months of regulatory hurdles to cross as well mounting legal issues for Activision that need to be cleared before the company can truly apply its new "principled approach" to this section of gaming and app stores.