Microsoft will let Sony keep Call of Duty for several years

Call of Duty Modern Warfare II Microsoft

After Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard, the global giant is letting Sony keep Call of Duty. The boss of Microsoft Xbox confirmed this.

If you revisit the tweet from Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, confirming that negotiations with the top leaders of Sony have been a success, you will notice that there have not been any specific details of how long it would take. The talks with the top executives of both companies ended with a deal for Playstation to keep Call of Duty on their platform indefinitely. Phil also acknowledged their relationship with Playstation and how vital they are in the gaming industry.

“In January, we provided a signed agreement to Sony to guarantee Call of Duty on PlayStation, with feature and content parity, for at least several more years beyond the current Sony contract. This offer goes well beyond typical gaming industry agreements.”

– Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO

There has not been any confirmation of how long Microsoft plans to let Sony keep the hit first-person shooting game. However, a report from Bloomberg in January mentioned that “For at least the next two years, Microsoft is committed to releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation, the people said.

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The future of Call of Duty with Xbox Game Pass

Acquisitions of this scale have been a back-and-forth between many competing companies in the gaming industry. This particular deal, according to a news report back in January from Microsoft indicated “Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion”.

Aside from questions concerning the platform where games would be exclusive, players often have qualms with the direction the game takes after an acquisition. There have been several games that have tanked because of a change in the storyline, character development, and overall gameplay. However, according to the same report from Microsoft, “Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth.” This is good news, especially for the loyal players of the game franchise.

Although the franchise’s future is still in the pipeline with Microsoft, this will be good news for those who currently have (and are planning to have) Xbox Game Pass. The acquisition is seen as a boost in Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio. According to a post back in August from Windows Central “Xbox Game Pass is sitting at around 25-30 million subscribers after five years in operation.

The Microsoft post confirmed that “With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry.” There is undoubtedly promise for those planning for their Xbox Game Pass once the acquisition and transition of the game franchise have been completed. As per Microsoft, “The deal is expected to close in the fiscal year 2023.” This means that the move of the game franchise might happen by the end of next year.

Xbox Game Pass September
Credits: Xbox

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A history of exclusivity from Microsoft

At first glance, letting Sony keep Call of Duty for the next several years may be a generous offer. However, Microsoft has had a history of keeping games to themselves.

Previously acquisitions of Microsoft, such as when they acquired Obsidian Entertainment (2018), spelled the exclusive release of Avowed to Xbox. This move of Microsoft has certainly taken a toll on Playstation, especially since Avowed was doubted initially as an answer to Obsidian to Elder Scrolls.

In 2020, Microsoft acquired Bethesda Softworks, the software giant that published DOOM, Fallout, Dishonored, Skyrim, Wolfenstein, and The Elder Scrolls, to name a few. It was announced that Microsoft would keep all existing contracts after this acquisition, and they would still release the previously announced Bethesda games, such as Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo, on PlayStation. 

This was no longer the case after a few months. Microsoft gave us new Bethesda games such as Starfield and Redfall, but they were exclusive to the Xbox and Microsoft Windows PCs. 

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