Sony and Activision Blizzard have been long-time buddies, having partnered with each other for the better part of the past decade. Now, this is officially coming to an end.
The two parties signed the multi-year agreement in 2015, which helped established the PlayStation 4 as the "go-to" Call of Duty console. Previously, Microsoft and Activision had a timed exclusivity deal from 2010 through 2015. Unfortunately, with Activision Blizzard likely to join the Microsoft umbrella sooner rather than later, Microsoft is making it clear that Sony's current deal with Activision Blizzard is ending.
Microsoft President Brad Smith explained in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday that the current agreement is expiring "next year", adding that their new offer is "a better deal" compared to the one that's expiring.
This revelation reinforces what we already know about the impasse between Sony and Activision Blizzard. Last year, Sony described the offer as "inadequate" before Smith guaranteed that Microsoft is willing to make certain concessions.
But, now that Nintendo has agreed to a deal with Microsoft to bring Call of Duty to future Nintendo consoles (presumably including the Nintendo Switch), Sony is starting to lose its leverage.
Beyond that, Microsoft is also committed to bringing Call of Duty, as well as Diablo 4 and other Activision Blizzard games, to GeForce Now when the purchase pushes through.
With that said, we're expecting to hear more from Microsoft, PlayStation, and Xbox soon. Each company's respective heads are headed to Brussels to meet with regulators as they make their cases about their stand regarding the Activision Blizzard buyout.