Following Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision, questions as to the future of Activision property Call of Duty have been raised. Historically a multi-platform title and one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world, both gamers and platform holders alike have shown discomfort in Microsoft (Xbox) becoming the owner of this IP. Despite previously saying Call of Duty will remain on the PlayStation and not become an Xbox platform exclusive, Sony has still pushed back against the acquisition.
In spite of continued tensions, Xbox Head Phil Spencer has gone online to communicate a new commitment to bring Call of Duty to both Nintendo platforms and Steam for a minimum of 10 years. The Nintendo offer is particularly interesting, as the Switch’s weaker hardware should prove to be a challenge for Call of Duty’s more power-intensive design. Perhaps this means a highly paired-back version of Call of Duty will head to Switch, or perhaps Spencer is banking on a more powerful Nintendo console in the near future.
I'm also pleased to confirm that Microsoft has committed to continue to offer Call of Duty on @Steam simultaneously to Xbox after we have closed the merger with Activision Blizzard King. @ATVI_AB @ValveSoftware
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 7, 2022
Microsoft’s philosophy of bringing its games to all platforms can be seen as a show of good consumer faith. “Helping bring more games to more people – however they choose to play” is certainly a lovely statement. Though you also can’t help but wonder if the decision goes beyond altruism. With all acquisitions of this size, the deal has to be approved by independent bodies set in place to prevent monopolies and other anti-consumer behaviour. With the Fair Trade Commission set to pass judgement on the deal soon, showcasing pro-consumer behaviour may help Microsoft push things in the direction they need. We of course also don’t know what will happen after that 10-year arrangement has ended.
Regardless, for the time being, it’s good news for gamers who don’t choose to play their games on a Microsoft platform and who may have been concerned that they’d no longer have access to Call of Duty. What do you think of all of this?