Xbox owns Call of Duty: the exclusivity war begins

Xbox owns Call of Duty: the exclusivity war begins

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has shaken the gaming industry, with a $68.7 billion deal giving Xbox free reign over Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch and more of the best-selling video game franchises. The question is, will this cause a new exclusivity war?

The way we play Activision’s biggest titles will change in the near future, and it’s fascinating to think that one day, we may not have to spend $60 to buy the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise. Instead, the next Black Ops or Modern Warfare entry will appear on Xbox Game Pass for anyone who can save at least $1 for a first-time subscription.

Xbox Game Pass now has more than 25 million subscribers, and that number is largely due to Halo Infinite, a longtime Xbox exclusive. Call of Duty, however, is a different beast. Not only has it been a cross-platform franchise since it first appeared on consoles in 2004 with Call of Duty: Finest Hour, but it’s also been heavily associated with the other top dog on the block: Sony’s PlayStation.

Regardless of what Microsoft decides to do with its new roster of famous franchises after the acquisition is signed (reportedly June 30, 2023), Xbox will have a vested interest in how we access our favorite games. and Call of Duty is underway. the front line.

call of duty sells

I’ve previously spoken about the state of Call of Duty, stating that recent entries haven’t felt like anything special. The Vanguard release demonstrated this, but there’s a reason CoD shares a similar annual release structure with Apple’s popular iPhones, and that’s because each entry sells.

NBD market research company released its annual chart of the best-selling games of 2021 in the US, and Call of Duty: Vanguard took the top spot. Not only is it impressive to see how Vanguard launched in November, but the second best-selling game of the year went to Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

(Image credit: NPD)

Take a look at 2020 sales and you’ll find that Cold War took the top spot, with 2019’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare coming in second. This has been a consistent trend for years.

In the UK (via GamesIndustry.biz), sales are similar, but FIFA 2022 was named the best-selling game of the year, with Vanguard in second place. Note that Vanguard had seen a 36.1% decline in sales compared to Cold War 2020, and it was yet the second best-selling game in the UK and number 1 in the US.

A most interesting figure. by NBD It is the best seller of PlayStation. You guessed it: Vanguard. Also, Black Ops Cold War still ranked third. Having Xbox own one of PlayStation’s biggest mainstays is perplexing, especially as Sony has struggled to form a relationship with the Call of Duty franchise over the years.

(Image credit: Call of Duty)

Head to the official Call of Duty website and you will find a special section on the benefits of playing any entry on PlayStation. From exclusive perks like Battle Pass bundle bonuses to early beta access, PlayStation gamers have always had a variety of bonuses, and the adaptive triggers on the PS5 DualSense controllers are the icing on the cake.

Now, PlayStation may not have access to provide these privileges, with Xbox becoming the home for all things CoD. Microsoft will see a hefty chunk of pennies if it decides to do what PlayStation is supposedly afraid of: make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox. If all the entries, new and old, make it to Xbox Game Pass, it’s more than likely that the number of subscribers will skyrocket.

console tribalism

While the acquisition has put the gaming industry on edge, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has given us a good indication of what the future holds.

In an interview with the edge In 2020, Spencer was feeling very much in favor of the notion of console wars. He stated that “the biggest competitor we have is the apathy for the products and services, the games we build”, not the competition between Sony and Nintendo.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

“Tribalism in the industry, if there’s one thing that would ever take me out of the industry, it’s actually that,” Spender said. “There’s a core that really hates the other consumer product. Man, that’s so disgusting to me… To me, it’s one of the worst things about our industry.”

It is not news that the battle between PS5, Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch has not been about the systems. Rather, it is the different games that are available on each platform. Spencer wants to make gaming accessible to everyone, everywhere, and Xbox Game Pass, along with its Xbox Cloud Gaming service, makes that possible with an extensive library of games.

Microsoft went to great lengths to break down the barriers between consoles, enabling cross-platform support for one of its biggest titles, Minecraft, in 2019 (via IGN). The Xbox empire continues to grow, with Activision games only adding to the already impressive Game Pass titles after the Bethesda merger.

With this in mind, it may not be about Call of Duty being exclusive to Xbox, but more about making it more accessible to the masses of gamers. Additionally, we know that Spencer currently wants to support established communities playing games on select platforms:

“Activision Blizzard’s fantastic franchises will also accelerate our plans for cloud gaming, enabling more people in more places around the world to participate in the Xbox community using phones, tablets, laptops and other devices you already own,” he said. Spencer. “Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms, and we plan to continue to support those communities in the future.”

(Image credit: Activision)

This lets us know that PlayStation won’t be seeing its last days of Call of Duty anytime soon, but you can bet plenty of gamers will be flocking to a gaming service that can be played on pretty much anything with a screen to get the latest input. . PlayStation is sure to take a hit with its best-selling franchise on the platform that could be available as part of Game Pass.

Sony has responded to Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, stating that the PlayStation giant expects Microsoft to honor contractual agreements.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Sony state: “We expect Microsoft to honor contractual agreements and continue to ensure that Activision games are cross-platform.” This indicates that there is still some breathing room for Sony’s PlayStation to get access to Activision games, but it also means that Microsoft could go ahead and make these game franchises Xbox exclusives.

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the two legendary PlayStation icons now coming to Xbox: Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. These guys haven’t been exclusive for a while, and they’re not the money makers that Call of Duty is. Still, this raises questions about how Xbox will handle these iconic franchises, and while they may not be exclusive, they may also be if Xbox is entitled to offer exclusive bonuses along the same lines as Deathloop’s timed exclusivity on PS5.

Thinking in the future

“But if Call of Duty doesn’t become an Xbox exclusive, how will it reap the rewards?” That is a question that is in the air. Brian Altano and Mark Medina of IGN heavy on about the possibilities that Xbox can take, and the gaming giant is likely to take the same route it took with Halo Infinite.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Halo Infinite’s multiplayer mode is free to play and is essentially separate from the main game seeing how it came out before the official release of the campaign. With Call of Duty, we can see each entry’s campaign being available through Game Pass. Here’s the kicker: future campaigns may be Xbox exclusive, while the multiplayer aspect, like Warzone, will remain cross-platform.

There is also a possibility that Call of Duty will be available on Xbox platforms first, with other platforms like PlayStation getting their version at a later date. Or, Call of Duty will be available on all platforms at once. In any case, PlayStation will lose out, since Game Pass will not have to charge a staggering $60 with each new entry.

At the moment, it’s all speculation, and we won’t know how Xbox will handle owning one of the best-selling game franchises of all time until 2023. Content exclusivity is fast becoming the real war facing the gaming industry. , and we know it. it works because Nintendo has Mario, the best-selling franchise of all time. With Call of Duty, and let’s not forget World of Warcraft, Candy Crush, Tony Hawk, Diablo, Overwatch, Spyro, Hearthstone, Guitar Hero, Crash Bandicoot, StarCraft, under its belt, Xbox is sure to shake up the gaming industry.

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