The ongoing acquisition deal of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has revealed bits of what the future of Xbox and PlayStation will be like. More specifically, the next console generation cycle where the two companies are involved. Thanks to documents that have been filed as the deal goes through the motions with UK regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, it’s been revealed that both companies don’t intend to launch new consoles until at least 2028.
Or, at least on Microsoft’s part, autumn 2028 is a definitive time window, whereas for Sony Interactive Entertainment, it’s implied to be of the same window. Documents submitted by both companies have redacted bits, but for whatever reason, SIE decided to redact the year it planned to release its next-generation console, while Microsoft did not.
For context, the documents address an offer that Microsoft once made to SIE, where the former will keep Call of Duty games on the latter’s console until 2027 should its acquisition of Activision Blizzard go through. Judging from previous console generation cycles, it’s reasonable to expect that year to be when both companies will reveal their next-generation consoles.
But when that happens, the PlayStation console, which we’d assume will be called the PS6, will have to launch without a new Call of Duty game for the year, and potentially other Activision Blizzard titles as well. And considering the consistently strong monetary performance of CoD as a series, this would be the determining factor as to which console to buy for many gamers.
As mentioned, SIE redacted the year it expects to release the next PlayStation console, but contextually it should be safe to assume that this is either 2027 or 2028. On the other hand, Microsoft outright says that “the next new generation of consoles are not expected to be released before the fall of 2028”. On one hand it’s not outright mentioned whether the company is referring to the industry as a whole or strictly speaking on behalf of Xbox. But on the other, with the two brands launching competing consoles since the PS3 and Xbox 360 days, that trend is unlikely to change.
On a related note, the Call of Duty agreement of until 2027 doesn’t quite match up with what Xbox head Phil Spencer has said publicly so far. Last month, Spencer said that Call of Duty games will be on PlayStation consoles “for as long as there’s a PlayStation out there to ship to”. Then earlier this month, speaking to the New York Times, this turned into a 10-year deal.