Gaming

Call of Duty Joining Xbox Game Pass, Will Honour Same-Day Launch on PlayStation

Call of Duty will join Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has confirmed. A Microsoft blog post details that Activision Blizzard’s library of games will be available on the Xbox game subscription service, once the acquisition deal goes through. The lineup will also include other quality titles such as Overwatch and Diablo. That said, Call of Duty will not be treated as an Xbox-exclusive title. Going forward, Call of Duty will launch on Xbox Game Pass, while still maintaining a same-day PlayStation release.

The announcement comes after the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) — UK’s regulatory body — concluded its initial investigation of Microsoft’s $68 billion (about Rs. 5,41,800 crore) buyout of Activision Blizzard. The approval process has entered phase 2 and requires an “in-depth investigation.” As part of this new development, Spencer has announced two means of expansion for Xbox, which include Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard titles joining Game Pass. And second: bringing more games to mobile platforms.

Due to the Activision Blizzard acquisition, players were worried about the Call of Duty franchise getting hard-locked to Xbox, enabling PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. But in this new statement, Spencer has reiterated that the company is “committed” to making the same version of Call of Duty available on PlayStation on launch day. While there are no set details yet, this could mean that any console-exclusive bonuses or cosmetic items will be shared between both platforms.

“We know players benefit from this approach because we’ve done it with Minecraft, which continues to be available on multiple platforms and has expanded to even more since Mojang joined Microsoft in 2014,” he added. As Xbox extends its gaming storefront across more devices, it will continue respecting the developers’ choice on how they distribute games. In a tweet earlier this year, Spencer noted that Sony was an important part of the gaming industry and they wanted to maintain that relationship.

Currently, there are no details on when the Call of Duty lineup gets added to Xbox. Earlier this month, studio Infinity Ward confirmed an open beta event for the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 remake. The beta phase — beginning on September 18 — grants early access to those on PS4 and PS5, while Xbox and PC players get access later in the week. While future Call of Duty titles will launch on the same day across both consoles, once this acquisition goes through, we could expect minor bonuses like “early access” advertised exclusively on the Xbox front.

Overwatch — the 6v6 team-based FPS — is another title benefiting from the acquisition, which has been steadily losing its player base. Balancing issues and the overwhelming amount of hero additions caused most players to flock over to other multiplayer FPS titles such as Valorant. Adding it to Game Pass as a free title would be a great way to regain traffic. With Overwatch 2 on the horizon, we could see it releasing on day one on Game Pass as well. Diablo is also getting added to the library, as Blizzard focuses on more mobile game launches.

That said, there is no mention of World of Warcraft coming to Game Pass, though it could have something to do with the payment system. WoW functions on a monthly recurring subscription basis, where players are asked to pay a minimum of $14.99 (about Rs. 1,193) monthly to keep it running. It’s not going to be straightforward to incorporate World of Warcraft with Game Pass, as players might get asked to pay an additional sum on top of Xbox’s subscription.

Earlier this month, court documents from the Microsoft-CADE trial revealed that Xbox One had sold less than half of PS4 units in its lifetime. As of March, the PlayStation 4 has sold 117.2 million units, putting Xbox One sales at a value of less than 58.6 million units. Microsoft stopped releasing console sales information since 2015, instead focussing on Xbox Live numbers.


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