In court documents reviewed by IGN, Microsoft said the “expected starting period” of the next generation of consoles is 2028.
This means the next Xbox and the PlayStation 6 are set to launch eight years after the Xbox Series X and S and PlayStation 5.
The news comes from documents made public as part of Xbox's big Activision Blizzard FTC trial, which kicked off this week.
It's crunch time for Microsoft and the Xbox brand, as company leaders are heading to federal court to defend their proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard against the United States Federal Trade Commission.
The legal battle between Microsoft and the FTC began last December, when the agency announced plans to block Microsoft's enormous $68.7 billion purchase of the company behind Call of Duty, Diablo, and Candy Crush. Last week, a federal court in California issued a temporary restraining order requested by the FTC that basically blocks Microsoft and Activision Blizzard's deal for the time being.
This week's trial will see the FTC attempt to impose a preliminary injunction on Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. If successful, it would mean Microsoft and Activision Blizzard can't complete the acquisition while the FTC's review of the transaction's compliance with U.S. antitrust law is ongoing.
In documents released today, Microsoft discussed the 10-year duration of its commitment to Sony to release Call of Duty games on PlayStation platforms, should the deal go through.
“This term would in any case go beyond the expected starting period of the next generation of consoles (in 2028),” Microsoft said. “Thus, Call of Duty will be published on successor PlayStation consoles should one be released during the term of the agreement. The agreement also would ensure that Call of Duty console games are offered on PlayStation at parity with Xbox.”
“This term would in any case go beyond the expected starting period of the next generation of consoles (in 2028).”
A 2028 release tallies with a previous document in which Sony said it does not expect its next-generation PlayStation to come out until at least 2027. In that document, released in November last year, Sony claimed it expected to lose access to the Call of Duty franchise in 2027. Sony then went on to state by the time it “launched the next generation of its PlayStation console… it would have lost access to Call of Duty and other Activision titles”. Microsoft’s filing today counters this suggestion.
Microsoft has announced a number of deals with rival video game companies in a bid to convince regulators its Activision Blizzard acquisition should be approved. For example, it signed a 10-year deal with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to its consoles. However, it has yet to agree on a similar deal with Sony, despite drawing up a proposal.
This Sony proposal provides for continued distribution of all Activision games on the PlayStation platform at parity to Xbox, Microsoft said. Microsoft sent a draft of this agreement in December, but Sony so far has refused to play ball.
Sony has yet to announce plans for PlayStation 6, although today it said it won't share those plans with Activision Blizzard if Microsoft's buyout goes through. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan told the FTC it couldn't give “immensely sensitive” information about its next console to a company owned by Xbox.
IGN has comprehensive coverage of Microsoft’s battle to buy Activision Blizzard. Keep an eye on our Coverage So Far page for updates.
John Ravenporton is a writer for many popular online publications. John is now our chief editor at DailyTechFeed. John specializes in Crypto, Software, Computer and Tech related articles.