Sony’s marketing arrangement with Activision, for Call Of Duty, will apparently keep it from Xbox Game Pass for several years.
If it’s approved, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is not expected to go through until 2023 at the absolute earliest. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the company can start doing anything it wants with Activision’s IPs, especially Call Of Duty.
You all know by now that Microsoft has to keep releasing future Call Of Duty titles for PlayStation consoles due to a contract between Sony and Activision.
This also extends to putting Call Of Duty on Xbox Game Pass, with Microsoft confirming that the games can’t come to the subscription service for an unspecified number of years.
This detail comes from Microsoft’s response to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision to conduct a second investigation into the buyout, the information was only a footnote in a legal document and so was only picked up recently.
The lack of specifics means it’s unclear exactly when Microsoft would be able to put Call Of Duty titles on Game Pass. Microsoft has said it’s committed to keep releasing Call Of Duty for PlayStation for ‘several more years’ after the Sony/Activision deal expires, so perhaps it’s insinuating that that agreement includes keeping it off Game Pass.
In terms of existing contracts though there seems to be no reason why the games couldn’t appear on Game Pass once the current marketing deal runs out in 2025.
‘The agreement between Activision Blizzard and Sony includes restrictions on the ability of Activision Blizzard to place Call of Duty titles on Game Pass for a number of years,’ reads the footnote, as shared by The Verge’s Tom Warren on Twitter.
Microsoft has made similar statements before. Back in August, it boldly claimed that Sony was no better and paid publishers to not add their games to Game Pass.
Regardless of Microsoft’s statements and frustrations, the CMA is unwilling to sign off on the acquisition immediately. It has raised concerns that the deal will negatively impact competitors, not just Sony, and won’t come to a final decision until March 2023.
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