Xbox has claimed that PlayStation blocked Call of Duty from being on Xbox Game Pass for years. There has been a lot of chaos surrounding Microsoft's nearly $70 billion acquisition of Activision. The tech giant announced earlier this year that intends to purchase the massive gaming publisher, which would give Xbox full control over Call of Duty, Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and more. Although some regulators have already approved the deal, there are still others that need convincing and Sony has decided to put up its best fight. Earlier this year, Sony voiced its concerns with the deal and feared Call of Duty could become an Xbox exclusive after it closes. Xbox's Phil Spencer responded to these concerns noting that it would treat Call of Duty like Minecraft, a franchise that has continued to be supported on PlayStation.
After extensive arguments about how Microsoft's Activision deal could be bad for the industry due to how it could leverage things like exclusives, Microsoft has fired back. The tech giant circled back to known subject of "blocking rights", which revolves around a company paying a developer to not put its game on another platform or service. Microsoft is now claiming that as part of PlayStation's current marketing deal with Activision for the Call of Duty series, it prevents the shooter franchise from being put on Xbox Game Pass. Given there hasn't been a Call of Duty game on Xbox Game Pass to date, this isn't a huge shocker, but Microsoft is leveraging it against Sony's criticisms and issues with the Microsoft and Activision deal.
We kinda knew this already, but Microsoft makes it clear that Sony's deal for Call of Duty includes "restrictions on the ability of Activision Blizzard to place Call of Duty titles on Game Pass for a number of years." https://t.co/BfdfbE1Ae7 pic.twitter.com/37nEXYjfuj— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) October 18, 2022
As of right now, it remains to be seen if this will influence how regulators approach this deal. Microsoft has already confirmed it will continue to honor PlayStation's deal with Call of Duty if the deal goes through. It's expected that the deal will last until 2024 or 2025, which could also mean Microsoft won't be able to put the next few Call of Duty games on Xbox Game Pass on day one.
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