Microsoft and Sony don’t plan on releasing next-gen consoles until at least 2028. About that informed Video Games Chronicle, citing documents both companies provided to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is investigating Microsoft’s acquisition of video game publisher Activision Blizzard.
The CMA has raised concerns about how the upcoming deal will affect PlayStation’s competitiveness as the merger would give Microsoft ownership of the Call of Duty franchise. “These impacts are likely to be felt especially with the launch of next-gen consoles, when gamers will be making decisions about where to buy their next console.” determined the supervisory authority.
To allay the CMA’s concerns, Microsoft stated that it would be many years before the next generation of consoles would be released and that claims about the deal’s impact on market competition were highly controversial. While the possibility of players switching vendors when purchasing a next-gen console hasn’t been ruled out, Microsoft has made that clear “This event (the release of a new console) happens roughly every eight years.”
With Sony and Microsoft releasing their current generation consoles, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S respectively, in November 2020, the next generation of Xbox will (if Microsoft is right) appear in 2028. “The release of the next generation of the console is not expected before autumn 2028” – confirmed by Microsoft.
Sony says there’s a very real threat that Call of Duty will be exclusive to Xbox, while Microsoft insists there’s little business incentive to do so. In a statement to UK regulators, Sony announced Microsoft’s proposal to keep Call of Duty available on the PlayStation platform only until 2027, which could hurt the popularity of the next-gen console that will be released at that time. Losing access to Call of Duty and other Activision games could affect the competitiveness of the new version of the PlayStation, according to the Japanese manufacturer. Note that in a document to the CMA, Microsoft announced Sony’s proposed ten-year Call of Duty contract.