With the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal almost signed and completed, Xbox has once again assured gamers that the company intends on keeping the Call of Duty series multi-platform. Microsoft says it doesn’t have any plans to make Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive when (and if) the deal finishes.
According to another document put together by the company in order to persuade government entities in certain countries to sign off on the acquisition, Microsoft highlighted its concerns surrounding a so-called “Xbox exclusive Call of Duty future”.
The document was sent through to Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) to discuss the proposed acquisition. In it, Microsoft mentions concerns over the Call of Duty series and it no longer appearing on the PlayStation platforms. The company states that it would “not be profitable” to release Call of Duty only on Xbox. The document reads:
“Regardless of how unsurprising Sony‘s criticism of content exclusivity is – given that PlayStation’s entire strategy has been centred on exclusivity over the years – the reality is that the strategy of retaining Activision Blizzard’s games by not distributing them in rival console shops would simply not be profitable for Microsoft.”
“As if that weren’t enough, exclusivity strategies still result in title-specific costs. This is especially true considering (i) the ‘gamer-centric’ – as opposed to ‘device-centric’ – strategy that Microsoft has pioneered with Game Pass, and (ii) the fact that PlayStation has the most loyal users across its various generations, with all indications that brand loyalty accrued in previous rounds of the ‘console wars’ suggesting that PlayStation will continue to have a strong market position.”
Microsoft states that even if the company were to make Call of Duty profitable as an Xbox exclusive release it would have no “competitive impact” due to the “intense competition in the game publishing market”. Basically, what Microsoft is trying to say is that gamers won’t leave their primary PlayStation platform in order to play Call of Duty on Xbox.
“The hypothetical adoption of any content discontinuation strategy would content would not be profitable for Microsoft and, even if implemented, such strategies would have no competitive impact, for the reasons described above.”
Considering Xbox Game Pass and its current structure, there’s no way Call of Duty would be able to make money releasing for “free” on the service without drastically changing its monetization features. If anything, Call of Duty is only profitable when released on multiple platforms with a $70 price tag and in-game purchases. Of course, Microsoft’s free game subscription would not be able to match that.