Will Microsoft Now Own Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice?
The news that Microsoft is looking to acquire Activision-Blizzard raises the question of the fate of From Software's Activision-published Sekiro--but "published" does not mean "owns."
The news that Microsoft is acquiring Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard brings with it a lot of baggage. In addition to a number of studios, Activision owns the intellectual property rights to a huge number of games and series. So when the news of the Microsoft acquisition broke, many players immediately wondered if that meant the Xbox maker would now own From Software's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Publishers often acquire the IP rights to games as part of their publishing deals--but that's not always the case. When it comes to Sekiro, the copyright for the game remains with From Software, not with Activision. Thus, while Microsoft is getting a whole lot of brands in the deal, from Call of Duty to StarCraft to Crash Bandicoot, it's not acquiring Sekiro.
With Sekiro remaining independent, it means that Microsoft can't immediately add the game to its Xbox Game Pass subscription service, as it has done with Bethesda games after its other big recent acquisition. That doesn't mean Sekiro won't appear on the service in the future, but for that to happen, a separate deal will likely need to be made between Microsoft and From Software. It also doesn't mean that Microsoft now gets to determine if a Sekiro sequel is made--although we don't know the details of the game's publishing details, so there could be caveats we're not aware of (such as Activision retaining the right to turn down publishing a Sekiro follow-up before From Software can make a deal elsewhere).
So if you're worried that Sekiro might be in the hands of Microsoft, you can allay those fears. That said, Microsoft will definitely come to own quite a few things in the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, including older IP that aren't currently on the market (such as Guitar Hero). Thus, the fate of quite a few games will now be in Microsoft's hands, including items in the Activision back catalog. If recent moves with Bethesda are any indication, it seem very likely we'll be seeing an influx of new items on Game Pass if and when the deal goes through, which is currently projected to be completed sometime in 2023.
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