Call of Duty May Not Come to Xbox Game Pass For Several Years

The next several Call of Duty entries may not appear on Xbox Game Pass on day one. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced its intent to purchase Activision for just shy of $70 billion, making it one of the biggest acquisitions in the history of gaming. Aside from all of the talent that it will inherit, the biggest thing that Xbox will gain control of is Call of Duty, one of the biggest franchises in all of entertainment. Although the deal isn't expected to close until summer 2023, many are already trying to picture what Call of Duty will look like under Xbox. The platform has made a promise that all of its first-party titles will be on Xbox Game Pass on launch day, including blockbuster titles like Starfield. Many naturally assumed Call of Duty would be included in this, but that may not be possible.

According to Tom Henderson, Call of Duty's long-term marketing deal is expected to last for three more games. This deal has previously allowed Call of Duty to be advertised as a marquee PlayStation with exclusive benefits. This has typically included early access to the game's beta on PlayStation, exclusive modes, and in some cases, getting access to remastered Call of Duty titles a month early. As such, a deal like this may prevent Xbox from putting Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass on day one until 2025. This year's entry, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, is slated to release this October, well before the acquisition is finalized. It's also expected that Call of Duty: Warzone 2 will release sometime in early 2023, fulfilling two of the three remaining games in the deal with PlayStation. 

With rumors that Call of Duty may not have a core mainline title in fall 2023, opting to delay it to 2024, fans may not see a Call of Duty game on Xbox Game Pass at launch until Sledgehammer's next Call of Duty game in 2025. Of course, this is all rumor and speculation, so this could change. Xbox has stated it will honor PlayStation's deals with Call of Duty, so at the very least, Call of Duty will have ties to PlayStation for the next few years. It's unclear if this will prevent older Call of Duty games from being released on Xbox Game Pass, though it seems unlikely.

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