As you may have heard, Microsoft just turned up the heat on the console wars in the biggest way possible, by purchasing Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. So, does that mean massive franchises like Call of Duty and Diablo are now exclusive to the Xbox brand? Well, not necessarily – according to a Bloomberg report on the mega merger, Microsoft is planning to “keep making some of Activision’s games for PlayStation consoles,” while others will become Xbox exclusives.
For what it’s worth, industry insider Jeff Grubb thinks the core Call of Duty games will indeed go Xbox exclusive, while Warzone will remain multiplatform.
OK. Fine. I’ll do the damn discourse. Warzone will remain multiplatform, but I think main Call of Duty games go exclusive. Microsoft already ran the numbers on every scenario with Bethesda and it determined exclusivity to Game Pass is the best way to drive its goals.
— Jeff Grubb (@JeffGrubb) January 18, 2022
Of course, Grubb is largely speculating – nobody really saw this coming – but I pretty much agree with his assessment. Looking at what Microsoft did with Bethesda is informative I think. With that purchase, they honored previously-signed deals (Deathloop, Ghostwire: Tokyo) and left games that were already other platforms alone, but new stuff went exclusive. In the short term, would continuing to put Call of Duty on everything make Microsoft more money? Probably, but they’re not thinking short term. They’re laser focused on the long-term success of Xbox Game Pass, and I don’t think there’s a single thing in this industry that could drive more subs than Xbox exclusivity and a Day 1 Game Pass release for CoD.
Of course, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has filed suit against Activision Blizzard, alleging widespread gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment at the Call of Duty publisher. You can get more detail on that unfolding story here. Despite this, Bobby Kotick is reportedly staying on as Acti-Blizz CEO until this deal closes in 2023.
So, what are your thoughts on this whole crazy situation? Which Activision Blizzard games are going Xbox exclusive? Is it time for Call of Duty fans to trade in the PlayStation controller?