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It's all kicking off - the long and slow progress of the Xbox-Activision deal is picking up some pace as the US FTC finally puts live questions to a bunch of executives from Microsoft, Activision and (soon) Sony about the deal.

This is leading to all sorts of answers and documentary evidence that wouldn't normally be aired in public, and one of the biggest yet has come from Microsoft's arguments.

According to IGN, Microsoft was talking up how meaningful its offer of a 10-year commitment to put Call of Duty on Sony's consoles really is, based on the fact that this would mean COD on the next generation of consoles:

"This term would in any case go beyond the expected starting period of the next generation of consoles (in 2028). 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 is one of those revelations that's both hugely interesting and not that surprising, all at once. On the one hand, given Microsoft's Xbox business, and how an Xbox and PlayStation almost always launch within months of each other, this is basically full confirmation that both are targetting 2028 launches for their next-gen consoles.

UK lockdown could mean no PS5 or Xbox Series X/S on launch day if you didn’t preorder photo 1

On the other hand, we basically already knew that based on statements about expected life cycles, previous consoles' lifespans and extensive industry rumours.

Still, if that means that we know both the PS6's release date and whatever Xbox calls its next machine too, there are a bunch of outstanding questions about the remainder of this console generation.

What next for the PS5 and Xbox Series X?

We're expecting that there will be a PlayStation 5 Pro at some point to repeat the PS4's trick of an upgraded, more powerful mid-generation iteration, but what happens on Xbox's side is less obvious.

Digital Foundry recently reminded the public that Xbox said privately at the Series S and Series X's launch that the Series X effectively was its mid-generation box, released at the same time as the less-powerful Series S and with enough oomph that developers wouldn't fully utilise it for years.

If that's true it's a bold strategy given the free run it would give PlayStation if and when it does drop a PS5 Pro. I would tend to view it more as a marketing line for the existing consoles - the most likely current outcome is still surely that a hardware refresh happens in the next couple of years, if only to slim the chunky Series X down.

Still, it's fascinating to get a glimpse at these sorts of documents and answers from Xbox, with more to come in the next few days as the hearings continue.

That said, there's also a noticeable through-line of questions that betray a lack of familiarity with gaming and technology from the FTC, unsurprisingly, which could also lead to some amusing moments.