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PlayStation Fans Just Got Terrible News

Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion has fans going wild, but PlayStation owners are worried what might happen to their favorite franchises. While Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said that the deal is expected to close by the end of the fiscal year 2023, that hasn't stopped Gamers from speculating about the future of Activision Blizzard titles. Announced on the Xbox Wire, Xbox will be gaining all of Activision Blizzard properties and studios, including "Call of Duty," "Overwatch," "World of Warcraft," and more. The deal also includes the mobile game maker King, best known for "Candy Crush." According to the Wall Street Journal, this deal would put Microsoft as the third-highest revenue generator in gaming, just behind Sony and Tencent.

While the effects of this decision won't be felt until the deal closes, that's plenty of time for PlayStation owners to speculate if these games will now be exclusive to Xbox and PC. As reported by Bloomberg, Microsoft claimed it wanted to keep many games multiplatform, but will make some exclusive — which means anything can happen. This could also mean some in-game content or items offered exclusively on Xbox. So what games could be Xbox exclusive?

Will Activision games be Xbox exclusive?

When it comes to Activision, no property is bigger than "Call of Duty," which consistently tops the NPD sales charts every year, with "Call of Duty: Vanguard" being the highest selling game of 2021 and "Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War" being the second. A sizable chunk of those sales come from PlayStation consoles, but as Microsoft has shown with the Bethesda deal, it is willing to sacrifice sales for exclusivity. Microsoft would lose out on copies that could be sold on PlayStation, but it would likely make up some of those sales with people buying an Xbox just to play the new "Call of Duty." Based on how Microsoft treated Bethesda titles after acquiring the company, it is possible that "Call of Duty" will stay multiplatform. The general rule for exclusivity seems to be that new games, like "Starfield," will be Xbox and PC exclusive, and existing games like "The Elder Scrolls Online" will continue to be supported on PlayStation.

This matters because "Call of Duty" falls into both categories. While the yearly premium "Call of Duty" games could easily go exclusive, according to Jeff Grubb at Venture Beat, "Call of Duty: Warzone" throws a wrench in that. "Warzone" is intrinsically tied to the new titles, sharing levels and battle passes, but is a free-to-play existing game. It is possible that because of "Warzone," "Call of Duty" will stay multiplatform, since Microsoft will want to continue supporting an existing title. Microsoft could also offer exclusive in-game items to Xbox players and Xbox Game Pass subscribers as a small way to entice players to move to Xbox. 

Will Blizzard games be Xbox exclusive?

Blizzard has a wider variety of games compared to Activision, but it seems likely that the majority of its future titles will be exclusive to Xbox and PC. Considering the acquisition won't close until the end of June 2023, it seems likely that "Overwatch 2" and "Diablo 4" will both be released as multiplatform games. Both of these titles are set to release in 2023 at the earliest, but the launch could be close enough to the deal closing that it might be too late to pull the plug on a PlayStation release. The only ongoing Blizzard game on PlayStation is "Overwatch," which likely means that "Overwatch 2" will still release on PlayStation.

As for future titles, it seems unlikely that anything new would come to PlayStation in the future. If "World of Warcraft" gets ported to console (something Microsoft would possibly want to do) it's possible it ends up on PlayStation, since the game needs subscriptions to continue running. That said, it has been a PC-only title for nearly two decades without issue, so it might not need the PlayStation user base to continue running.

Will King games be Xbox exclusive?

Perhaps the odd publisher out in this scenario, King makes mobile games and only mobile games. It seems incredibly unlikely that any King games, past or future, will come to PlayStation, since none of them have previously. It remains to be seen if any of King's games would even come to Xbox consoles, since it's unclear how many people might be interested in playing "Candy Crush" on a console. That said, these games could come to Xbox Game Pass and be featured on the cloud streaming service.

While King is certainly the most unknown factor in this deal in regards to putting video games on consoles, if King decided to make a non-mobile game once the acquisition closes, it would likely not release on PlayStation consoles. Sorry PS5 owners, you probably won't be playing "Candy Crush" with your DualSense anytime soon. PlayStation owners won't know for sure if Activision Blizzard games will be Xbox exclusive for at least 18 months, since Microsoft will be unable to legally announce any business decisions related to Activision Blizzard prior to the deal closing. That means that "Call of Duty 2022" will certainly be multiplatform.