Almost since the franchise’s inception, the Call of Duty brand has been most closely associated with Xbox. Call of Duty 2 was the premiere launch title for the Xbox 360 way back in 2005, and after Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare revolutionized the industry a couple years later, Microsoft quickly worked out a timed DLC exclusivity deal with Activision.
However, the marriage between Call of Duty and Xbox is coming to an end with the next game in the series, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. As announced at E3 2015, the DLC expansions for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will be timed-exclusives to PlayStation platforms for the first time ever. Clearly Sony and Activision are enjoying quite the lucrative business relationship together, and now that’s being taken another step forward.
As announced today, Sony will be handling the publishing of Black Ops 3 in Japan, at least for the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game. However, Black Ops 3 also supports an Xbox 360 version, an Xbox One version, and a PC version of as well, but it’s unknown which company will be publishing those in Japan, if they are released in the region at all.
It’s possible that Square Enix, Activision’s former Call of Duty publishing partner, could be the one to publish the other versions of the game in Japan, but nothing has been announced. Another possibility could be that the game simply will only have PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 versions in Japan, so the few Japanese gamers with Xbox systems will be left out.
After all, this was the case with the Japanese release of Destiny. As some may recall, Sony actually partnered with Activision to publish Bungie’s RPG/shooter hybrid in Japan on PlayStation systems, and the Xbox versions of the game never saw the light of day in that region. So, it’s entirely possible that this publishing deal between Sony and Activision for Black Ops 3 in Japan indicates that the PC and Xbox versions won’t be coming at all.
Ultimately, the lack of an Xbox or PC presence for Black Ops 3 in Japan isn’t going to make big waves, if that does turn out to be the case. Xbox has traditionally sold very poorly in the country, and in fact, the Xbox One continues to sell poorly in Japan. Even if Black Ops 3 were to be released for Xbox in Japan, it’s unlikely that it would sell very well at all, so it’s not a huge loss to any of the involved parties.
It’s interesting to see the growing relationship between Activision and Sony develop. With deals liked the timed-exclusive Black Ops 3 DLC, Japanese publishing rights to Activision games, and joint ventures such as the Destiny: The Taken King themed PS4, they are clearly all in on making PlayStation the definitive way to play Activision games.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will be available November 6th for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.