Will Call of Duty be an Xbox exclusive? And what about the rest of the Activision Blizzard titles that are now nestled in Microsoft’s growing stable? These are some of the biggest questions gamers are pondering after Microsoft announced it was going to be dishing out the cash equivalent of $68.7 billion to absorb the Activision Blizzard conglomerate earlier this week. After suggesting some of the big Bethesda franchises would soon be locked to its gaming platforms, Microsoft might very well do the same thing with Activision Blizzard’s most popular IP as well. Although, Sony has now taken to the airwaves to offer gamers less-than-confident assurance that won’t be the case. More details below.
Will Call of Duty be an Xbox exclusive?
Microsoft has been burning its checkbook the last few years to acquire some of the biggest publishers and developers in the gaming industry. It previously brought the Bethesda arm under its wings along with its beloved-the-world-over franchises (Elder Scrolls, DOOM, Wolfenstein) and recently announced the highly anticipated Starfield would be an Xbox and PC exclusive, effectively leaving PlayStation gamers earthbound when it comes to the big upcoming Bethesda sci-fi RPG. But PlayStation has recently made public comments to The Wall Street Journal suggesting this might not be the case for the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise.
A spokesperson issued a statement saying it expects “that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multi-platform.” That really doesn’t sound overly confident, and the wording certainly isn’t definitive in nature – it almost seems like it’s just something to protect the stock price at this point. Does this mean that Call of Duty will be an Xbox exclusive in a matter of time? It sure sounds like it.
Microsoft recently honored a timed exclusive deal with Bethesda’s Arkane title Deathloop, but that agreement with Sony was in place before the Bethesda acquisition was made and Microsoft is already locking the publisher’s other IP behind its Xbox and Windows price of entry.
As The Verge points out, Sony has had a longstanding agreement with the multi-platform Call of Duty franchise that dates way back to 2015, but it sure seems like it’s only matter of time before that ink runs off the page and one of the world’s most popular FPS multiplayer titles becomes an Xbox exclusive. There’s no way to know for sure at this point, but it’s hard to imagine Microsoft paying $68 billion to share its content with its biggest competitor.
Call of Duty was the best-selling title in the US across 2021, much like year’s past, and was one of the most played titles on PlayStation 5 last year. While PlayStation has always had a great run of exclusives, historically even better than Microsoft, it seems that Microsoft has now dropped enough cash on the scale to tip the balance of power in the other direction – this could be a very bad thing for the future of Sony’s home console marketshare, and it’s hard to imagine anything other than Call of Duty becoming Xbox exclusive at this point.
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