The Wall Street Journal has finally published its interview with Xbox’s Phil Spencer, revealing key details about the Microsoft-Activision merger, Call of Duty exclusivity and Game Pass revenue.
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According to Xbox’s Phil Spencer, Microsoft has no plans to pull Call of Duty from PlayStation in 2-3 years, implying that even if Sony doesn’t sign a partnership deal, Microsoft will still keep the games on the console. platform.
Spencer also makes a curious statement that Microsoft will continue to ship Call of Duty to PlayStation post-merger “if it makes sense” to do so. What does this mean exactly? Not much information has been given about this particular feeling.
“Microsoft has said it is committed to bringing Call of Duty to all different platforms,” Sarah Needleman of the WSJ asked during the recent Live interview with the WSJ.
“Yes,” said Spencer.
“But you didn’t say for how long and for how much. Could that change at some point? Could you say in a few years that it’s exclusive to Xbox Game Pass?” Needleman asked.
Spencer highlights Microsoft’s motivations with Call of Duty when it comes to PlayStation.
“It’s not our plan. Our plan is for Call of Duty, in particular, to be available on PlayStation…that’s what you’re asking for, but when I think of our plans, I’d love to see it on Switch , I would like to see the game playable on many different screens.
“This franchise will continue to ship natively on PlayStation. It’s not a plan that, okay, we’re going to bait and change somebody to where they need to play on the cloud, or that in 2 or 3 years , we will remove the Games,” said Phil Spencer.
“Our intention is to continue shipping Call of Duty on PlayStation as long as it makes sense. As long as…Tech is still at some point in a transition.”
The real question is when wouldn’t it make sense to ship Call of Duty to PlayStation? Right now, Sony is the console market leader and earns the most money among the Big Three, but Xbox is no underdog. Our results show that Xbox was in second place in 2021 revenue; PlayStation was at $25 billion in 2021, Microsoft made $16.28 billion, and Nintendo made $14.8 billion.
It sure would make sense to keep the core Call of Duty games on PlayStation, wouldn’t it?
What games wouldn’t it make sense to keep on PlayStation? Perhaps titles that were designed from the ground up specifically to drive engagement on Xbox platforms, including specific games and/or service content.
That’s not to say that big F2P efforts like Warzone would be exclusive to Xbox, but there are still major billion-dollar Call of Duty experiences that aren’t available on PlayStation, including Call of Duty Mobile. Is that what Spencer is referring to, or could Xbox genuinely get exclusive Call of Duty content, games, and experiences through the Microsoft Store and possibly exclusive to Xbox Game Pass?
It’s hard to say for sure, but it’s an interesting quote that reflects a similar response to Spencer Bloomberg’s game when he was asked out of the blue if Call of Duty would stay on PlayStation in perpetuity:
“So how far does that go? Does that mean Activision games, this Call of Duty you can play on any platform in perpetuity?” Bloomberg’s Emily Chang asked Spencer in a August 2022 interview.
“I don’t know what forever means, like when you think of how long. It’s not for some nefarious business reason, it’s like what platforms meant 10 years ago, as I think the definition of some of these things might change over time. But we expect more people to play.”