Microsoft is committing to keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation for “several more years” beyond Sony’s existing marketing deal with Activision.
Microsoft Gaming CEO and Xbox chief Phil Spencer committed in a letter to PlayStation head Jim Ryan earlier this year, and it’s the clearest sign that Call of Duty won’t suddenly disappear from PlayStation platforms if regulators approve Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal.
“In January, we provided a signed agreement to Sony to guarantee Call of Duty on PlayStation, with feature and content parity, for at least several more years beyond the current Sony contract, an offer that goes well beyond typical gaming industry agreements,” says Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in a statement to The Verge.
Exactly how many years Call of Duty is guaranteed on PlayStation still isn’t clear. Still, Bloomberg initially reported earlier this year that Microsoft was committed to releasing Call of Duty on PS “for at least the next two years,” suggesting that Sony’s marketing deal for the franchise could expire in 2024. Microsoft then publicly committed in February to keeping Call of Duty “available on PlayStation beyond the existing agreement and into the future.”
Call of Duty fans still debates whether Microsoft could technically make the game an Xbox exclusive if the Activision Blizzard deal finalizes. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s latest statement doesn’t address what happens after those “several more years.” Still, the company is willing to guarantee Call of Duty on PlayStation for a more extended than usual period than it contractually has to.
Part of that commitment will ease fears from regulators analyzing Microsoft’s $68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard. Lawyers for Sony and Microsoft have been arguing over the importance of Call of Duty in documents submitted to Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) regulator, and it’s a sticking point.
Sony claims it would be challenging for other developers to build a franchise that rivals Activision’s Call of Duty and that it comes out “as a gaming category on its own.” Microsoft argues it’s not as crucial as its rival makes it out to be. The reality is somewhere in the middle. Microsoft has also discussed in these documents to CADE that not broadcasting games like Call of Duty at opponent console stores “would simply not be profitable” for the business.
Microsoft says a plan of not distributing Activision Blizzard games on rival consoles would only be profitable if the games could attract many players to the Xbox ecosystem. Then, it results in revenue to compensate for losses from not selling these titles on rival consoles.
The fears around Xbox exclusivity for Call of Duty have also been stoked after Microsoft acquired Bethesda last year. Microsoft promised to retain existing contractual agreements with Sony for Deathloop on PlayStation but went on to make Redfall and Starfield Xbox and PC exclusives.
Call of Duty competition fears has also played a big part in the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) moving to investigate Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal more closely. The CMA is moving to a phase 2 investigation that will see it appoint an independent panel to determine whether Microsoft’s control over games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft could harm rivals.
The battle over Call of Duty between Xbox and PlayStation has existed for as long as the franchise has. Sony famously secured a deal for extra Call of Duty downloadable content for PlayStation fans in 2015, after Xbox had been the traditional home for Call of Duty. That battle will undoubtedly continue as Microsoft, and Sony lawyers continue arguing about Call of Duty and regulators try to decide exactly how important it is.
The Call of Duty Championship is an annual Call of Duty game held at the end of each competitive season to choose the year’s World Champion. To select qualification, teams must qualify through events before the World Championship. Additionally, players must be at least 18 years of age before the tournament begins to participate.
The inaugural tournament was first owned in 2013 on Call of Duty: Black Ops II for the Xbox 360 and was succeeded by Fariko Impact. In 2014, recreating Call of Duty: Ghosts, Complexity Gaming triumphed the $400,000 championship prize.
Denial eSports won the 2015 iteration of the event with a team consisting of James “Clayster” Eubanks, Chris “Replays” Crowder, Dillon “Attach” Price, and Jordan. “JKap” Kaplan.
The 2016 iteration ensued 2–4 September 2016, unlike previous ones in the spring, with a two million dollar prize pool. Additionally, it was announced on June 8, 2016, that the championship would take place along with Call of Duty XP, which will indicate the Infinite Warfare Multiplayer Trailer. Team EnvyUs beat the event with a line-up of JKap, Apathy, SlasheR, and John.
In 2020, Activision and Sony Mobile revealed the inaugural Call of Duty: Mobile Championship would begin on April 30. However, Activision canceled the Mobile Grand Finals in December due to the COVID-19 pandemic and distributed the $750,000 prize pool between the seven squads who qualified for the Finals.
The 2021 Call of Duty League season started on January 23, 2021. In April 2021, Activision declared the 2021 Call of Duty: Mobile Championship would commence on June 3.
If you haven’t pre-ordered the game, Infinity Ward says you’ll have the chance to receive a beta code that’ll give you early access. While it already gave some codes away during the tournament today, you’ll have more opportunities to snag one from various streamers and YouTubers leading up to the beta’s start date.
We got our first glimpse at Modern Warfare II in June, but Infinity Ward’s set to reveal a lot more about the upcoming game at its Call of Duty: Next event (including a full multiplayer reveal), which will take place on September 15. Modern Warfare II launches on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X / S, and PC (via Battle.net and Steam) on October 28.