Is Call of Duty now going to be a franchise that is exclusive to Xbox platforms? That's the question that a number of people have had following today's massive announcement that Microsoft would be purchasing Activision, which is the publisher behind the Call of Duty series. While we don't currently know exactly what the future will hold for Call of Duty once it officially becomes an Xbox property, given Microsoft's moves in recent years, we can make an educated guess about how this situation will play out.
Following Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda, which played out last year, Xbox head Phil Spencer made clear that future titles from the publisher would only be available on platforms where Xbox Game Pass is available. As such, this seems to imply that Xbox Game Pass is the main driving force behind the acquisitions that Microsoft is making. In short, this suggests that if platforms such as the PlayStation 5 don't offer a way to access Xbox Game Pass, then those future titles won't be appearing on said platform.
That being said, Microsoft has been very inconsistent with this plan and seems to take each franchise on a case-by-case basis. For instance, Minecraft is a game that Xbox Game Studios still publishes on virtually every platform, despite directly owning the property. The reason for this is partially because Minecraft had an entrenched audience on a multitude of platforms prior to Xbox ever purchasing it. However, Minecraft is also such a behemoth of a property that for Xbox to only release it on a select number of platforms means that it isn't doing all that it can to make money from the game. An argument is to be made that Call of Duty is also just as big that to tie it to only a handful of platforms wouldn't make much sense purely from a financial standpoint.
It's also worth noting that Xbox and Phil Spencer have previously made clear that they'll continue to support ongoing titles for platforms in which they already have appeared on. This means that a game like Call of Duty: Warzone, for instance, isn't going to disappear from PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 once this deal does become official. However, what it could mean for future mainline Call of Duty titles remains uncertain.
For now, there are still a lot of questions to be had about how this Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal is going to play out. Some early reports today have suggested that certain franchises tied to Activision and Blizzard will still come to non-Xbox platforms, but we have no idea what those properties might actually be. There's a good chance that those internally at Microsoft haven't even decided on some of these specifics, either. Because of this, we'll have to wait and see what happens as we move forward.
Do you think that Call of Duty will end up being exclusive to Xbox platforms in the long run? Or is the first-person shooter series simply too large to not release on PlayStation platforms as well? Let me know your own theories either down in the comments or hit me up on Twitter at @MooreMan12.