Microsoft Says Call of Duty Will Remain on PlayStation “As Long As There Is a PlayStation.”

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Call of Duty Won’t Be Exclusive to Xbox/PC, Says Phil Spencer

What just happened? Microsoft has confirmed that it will not remove the Call of Duty series from the PlayStation if regulators give the go-ahead for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $ 68.7 billion. The future of the FPS franchise caused concern among PlayStation owners, who feared that Microsoft would make it exclusive to Xbox/PC, but this is Microsoft’s most explicit commitment to the series remaining on Sony machines.

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 this could mean that some games will no longer be available on PlayStation.

“We don’t take Call of Duty from PlayStation. I know it’s not exactly what you asked for, but we’re not going to just punch that one in the nose,” Spencer said. “We’re not going to do that, and as long as there’s a PlayStation to deliver to, we intend to continue releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation, just like we’ve been doing it with Minecraft since we’ve had it.”

“We expanded the places where people can play Minecraft, we didn’t reduce the number of places, and that was good. It was good for the Minecraft community — my opinion — and I want to do the same thing we think about where to call. Debt can be passed for years.”

Last week, Spencer hinted at The Wall Street Journal technical conference (via The Verge) that there are plans to move Call of Duty to the Nintendo Switch and leave it available on other platforms, as Microsoft did with Minecraft.

Earlier this year, Spencer said Microsoft intends to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for a few more years after Sony’s current deal with Activision, which covers the next two installments of the series after the recently released Modern Warfare II. PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan wasn’t impressed with the proposal, calling it “inadequate in many ways.”

Microsoft’s intentions regarding Activision Blizzard games have become a stumbling block for regulators looking into the deal. The UK Competition and Markets Authority has expressed concern that Microsoft is “withholding or degrading” the rights to use Activision Blizzard games for other consoles or subscription services if the acquisition is completed. This problem led the watchdog to conduct an extended phase 2 investigation last month.

Microsoft told the regulator that Sony significantly exaggerates the importance of the CoD series, and the loss of one franchise will not call into question the dominance of the Japanese giant. He added that the availability of Call of Duty in Game Pass does not guarantee that more Xbox consoles will be sold. But Microsoft tried to allay concerns that CoD would only be available for Xbox/PC by highlighting how much revenue would be jeopardized if it made such a move.

Spencer seems to have little doubt about Microsoft’s intentions regarding Call of Duty, but then he won’t be the first executive to break a promise. If the deal is approved, Microsoft will officially acquire Activision Blizzard by the end of the company’s fiscal year, that is, by June 2023.

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