According to court documents in the ongoing FTC trial, Microsoft predicts that the next generation of gaming consoles will be released in 2028. The documents, which were reviewed by IGN, reveal that the new Xbox and PlayStation 6 may hit the market eight years after the current consoles were launched in 2020. This timeline aligns with Sony’s statement from 2022, which suggested that the next console generation wouldn’t arrive until 2027. These dates are significant because Microsoft is attempting to convince the court that it is committed to making Activision’s popular franchise, Call of Duty, available on PlayStation consoles for a decade.
“This term would extend beyond the expected start of the next generation of consoles (in 2028),” stated Microsoft in the documents (via IGN). “As a result, if a successor PlayStation console were released during the agreement’s term, Call of Duty would be published on it. Additionally, the agreement would ensure that Call of Duty console games are offered on PlayStation on equal terms with Xbox.” This contradicts Sony’s claim from November of last year, where they asserted that Microsoft’s intention was to offer Activision games on PlayStation only until 2027. Microsoft had sent a draft of the 10-year agreement to Sony, but Sony has yet to respond. This 10-year duration would extend beyond the 2028 release window, allowing Call of Duty to flourish on Sony’s next-gen consoles. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has requested a temporary block on Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s $69 billion deal until the agency’s in-house court determines whether the deal negatively impacts competition in the video game industry.
In addition, Microsoft has admitted that it has been losing the “console wars” since the launch of the first Xbox in 2001. The term “console wars” refers to the competition between major video game console manufacturers, namely PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo, as they vie for market dominance and attempt to outsell one another. “Xbox has consistently ranked third (of three) behind PlayStation and Nintendo in sales,” Microsoft acknowledged in the documents. According to VGChartz, as of April 2023, the Xbox Series S/X consoles have sold 21.3 million units since their launch, while the PS5 and Nintendo Switch have sold approximately 36 million units in the same period. However, Nintendo takes a slight lead with 36.2 million units sold.
A Kotaku report highlights Microsoft’s decision to relinquish its competition in the current console wars and focus instead on delivering high-quality software. This includes games and their subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, which the company consistently promotes. The document emphasizes that Xbox does not generate a profit from console sales and instead sells the systems at a loss, relying on game and accessory sales to compensate for the loss in revenue. Recently, Microsoft raised the prices of its flagship Xbox Series X console in certain regions, as well as its Game Pass subscription worldwide.
In related news from the court hearing, Bethesda’s game, Indiana Jones, originally planned for a multi-platform release, will now be exclusive to Xbox and PC. The project was announced in 2021, shortly after Microsoft acquired the parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. During the court hearing, Bethesda’s head of publishing, Pete Hines, revealed that ZeniMax’s original agreement with Disney would have allowed the Indiana Jones game to be available on multiple consoles. However, when Microsoft acquired ZeniMax, Disney had concerns regarding console exclusivity. As a result, minor changes were made to the contract, resulting in Indiana Jones becoming an Xbox exclusive. Similarly, plans for Arkane’s Redfall to be released on PS5 were scrapped following the Bethesda acquisition.
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Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.