In light of the acquisition, speculation arose that Microsoft might make some of Activision Blizzard's biggest games Xbox-exclusive releases. Reports indicated Call of Duty would remain multi-platform into 2023 because of pre-existing agreements between Activision Blizzard and Sony, but Microsoft refrained from sharing its plans beyond the purview of those agreements.
Microsoft published a blog post Wednesday that has shaded in its plans around exclusivity — or the lack thereof.
"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," wrote Microsoft President & Vice Chair Brad Smith. "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," Smith continued. "We believe this is the right thing for the industry, for gamers and for our business."
Smith did not specify which other Activision Blizzard titles would remain multi-platform, leaving major releases such as Overwatch 2 in a gray area, but Microsoft's approach indicates it and others would follow Call of Duty's lead and continue to appear on Sony and Nintendo consoles.
Smith's blog post also addressed a set of Open App Store Principles that will be applied to the Microsoft Store in anticipation of the regulatory probe around its Activision Blizzard acquisition.
The 11 principles are as follows:
- We will enable all developers to access our app store as long as they meet reasonable and transparent standards for quality and safety.
- We will continue to protect the consumers and gamers who use our app store, ensuring that developers meet our standards for security.
- We will continue to respect the privacy of consumers in our app stores, giving them controls to manage their data and how it is used.
- We will hold our own apps to the same standards we hold competing apps.
- We will not use any non-public information or data from our app store to compete with developers’ apps.
- We will treat apps equally in our app store without unreasonable preferencing or ranking of our apps or our business partners’ apps over others.
- We will be transparent about rules for promotion and marketing in our app store and apply these consistently and objectively.
- We will not require developers in our app store to use our payment system to process in-app payments.
- We will not require developers in our app store to provide more favorable terms in our app store than in other app stores.
- We will not disadvantage developers if they choose to use a payment processing system other than ours or if they offer different terms and conditions in other app stores.
- We will not prevent developers from communicating directly with their customers through their apps for legitimate business purposes, such as pricing terms and product or service offerings.
Microsoft also says it will allow Windows users to patronize alternative app stores and third-party apps, and allowing them to change the default settings on their Windows PCs where appropriate.
"We want regulators and the public to know that as a company, Microsoft is committed to adapting to these new laws, and with these principles, we're moving to do so," Smith wrote.