Call of Duty won’t become an Xbox exclusive anytime soon

by Don Sharpe
Don Sharpe
Don Sharpe
Don has been writing professionally for over 10 years now, but his passion for the written word started back in his elementary school days. His work has been... read more
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  • Fans are wondering whether Call of Duty will be exclusive on Xbox given Microsoft’s latest deal to acquire Activision.
  • Call of Duty has been for a long time on PlayStation but it doesn’t seem it will leave soon
  • This would be a major coup for Microsoft, which has so far struggled to gain traction in the console gaming market.

Call of Duty is one of the most important properties in gaming today; in addition to its yearly releases, it has grown into a popular esports category, with its Black Ops 4 World League Championships drawing millions of viewers on Twitch. It’s become so popular that developer Treyarch has begun releasing special editions or bundles for Black Ops 4 and other Call of Duty games on PC. 

Microsoft recently announced it will acquire the gaming giant Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal that will add to the firm’s Xbox brand an exhaustive list of new properties, including a number of best-selling Blizzard franchises. 

Overwatch and Diablo are joining the Xbox family, accompanied by Activision titans like Call of Duty. This is not Microsoft’s first major Xbox acquisition — the company also scooped up ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion back in 2020 — but it is by far the largest to date.

The Call of Duty franchise will continue to by multi-platform

It’s a question that comes up every year around this time. With the annual release of Call of Duty, fans ask whether the franchise will be exclusive to Xbox, or will Activision Blizzard revive its PlayStation partnership?

The answer is almost never clear-cut. And this year, it’s no different — though we’re starting to get more information about what’s to come.

Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer stated following the announcement. While Microsoft isn’t talking specifics at this point in time, Spencer has further stressed its commitment to rival platforms. “I’ll just say to players out there who are playing Activision Blizzard games on Sony’s platform: It’s not our intent to pull communities away from that platform and we remained committed to that.

What happens to Call of Duty if Microsoft buys Activision Blizzard? The short answer is that nothing will change for at least a few years. The deal isn’t expected to close until 2023, which gives both companies plenty of time to figure things out.

If this deal goes through, however, it wouldn’t be surprising if Call of Duty games eventually launch exclusively on Xbox hardware. This would likely be a move designed to make Microsoft even more money, especially since it already owns a small stake in Activision Blizzard.

But, despite the recently announced acquisition, PlayStation still holds the marketing rights for the Call of Duty franchise thanks to a contract with Activision, which is believed to extend until 2024.

Of course, this contract also gives PlayStation players timed exclusivity over some content, as well as in-game bonuses from time to time. 

While Call of Duty is an invaluable franchise to Activision, the publisher’s financial success is dependent on releasing new titles each year. If going exclusive with Microsoft alleviates pressure to deliver record revenues each quarter, it could be a welcome change and allow more time for developers to perfect their games without undue pressure.

Would Call of Duty’s exclusivity on Xbox affect your gaming experience? Let us know in the comment section below.