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One of the reasons why the FTC took Microsoft to court to block the $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard is concerns over what the company will do with game franchises it takes control of. Specifically, Call of Duty, which Microsoft says it will keep as a cross-platform brand. But what about other major franchises from Activision, such as Candy Crush and Warcraft?

Well, Microsoft’s handling of Bethesda properties may serve as a pointer to the future when Activision Blizzard is under Redmond’s wing. This week, Microsoft confirmed that three upcoming Bethesda games will be exclusive to Xbox and PC (Game Pass).

Microsoft divulged the information in filings to courts amid its battle with the FTC. The information is unlikely to cool concerns the company wants to make Activision games exclusive to Xbox Game Pass. Sony and regulators in the US, UK, and Europe share this same concern.

Bethesda – the company behind the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises – is part of Microsoft following the $7.5 billion acquisition of Zenimax Media in 2020. As for the games that Microsoft will make exclusive, they are likely the triple-A titles Starfield and Redfall, as well as an Indiana Jones game the company is developing.

The Future

With Fallout 5 and Elder Scrolls 6 on the distant horizon, Microsoft could be willing to make two of gaming’s major franchises exclusive to Xbox customers. Naturally, this will raise eyebrows and lead to accusations the company could do the same with Activision Blizzard titles.

That is almost certainly not going to happen with Call of Duty. Microsoft says there is more economic value in keeping the shooter available across platforms. To reassure regulators, the company struck a 10-year agreement with Nintendo to keep Call of Duty on Switch. Microsoft has also offered Sony a similar deal but has not yet reached an agreement.

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