What just happened? Microsoft has confirmed it will not pull the Call of Duty franchise from PlayStation if its $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard gets the go-ahead from regulators. The future of the FPS franchise has been a source of concern for PlayStation owners who feared Microsoft would make it an Xbox/PC exclusive, but this is the clearest commitment Microsoft has made to the game. The series will remain on machines from Sony.
In a new podcast interview with Justine and Jenna Ezarik on Same Brain, YouTubers asked Xbox boss Phil Spencer about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard and whether it might mean that certain games would no longer be available on Playstation.
“We’re not taking Call of Duty from PlayStation. I know that’s not exactly what you asked for, but just kicking it in the nose, that’s not our intention,” Spencer said. “Our intention is not to do that , and as long as there’s a PlayStation to ship, our intention is to continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation, similar to what we’ve done with Minecraft since we’ve owned this. »
“We expanded the places where people can play Minecraft, we haven’t shrunk the places, and that’s been good. It’s been good for the Minecraft community – my test – and I want to do the same, while I think, where Call of Duty can go for years.”
Spencer hinted at the Wall Street Journal’s tech conference last week (via The Verge ) that there are plans to bring Call of Duty to the Nintendo Switch and keep it available on other platforms, just like Microsoft did with Minecraft.
Earlier this year, Spencer said that Microsoft is committed to keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation for several years beyond the current deal between Sony and Activision, which covers the next two versions of the series after the recent launch of Modern Warfare II. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan was unimpressed with the offer, calling it “inadequate on many levels”.
Microsoft’s intentions with Activision Blizzard’s games have been a concern for regulators reviewing the deal. The UK Competition and Markets Authority has raised concerns that Microsoft will “withhold or downgrade” Activision Blizzard titles from other consoles or subscription services if the acquisition goes through. The issue led to Watchdog’s expanded Phase 2 probe last month.
Microsoft told the regulator that Sony greatly overestimated the importance of the CoD series and that the loss of a single franchise would not challenge the Japanese giant’s dominance. He added that making Call of Duty available on Game Pass doesn’t guarantee it will sell more Xbox consoles. But Microsoft tried to allay concerns that it would make CoD Xbox/PC-only by outlining the amount of revenue that would be at risk if it took such a step.
Spencer seems to leave little doubt about Microsoft’s intentions with Call of Duty, but he wouldn’t be the first executive to break a promise. Assuming the deal is approved, Microsoft will officially acquire Activision Blizzard by the end of the company’s fiscal year, June 2023.