Will the Call of Duty war between Xbox and PlayStation ever end?

The Call of Duty war between Xbox and PlayStation rages on over Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft first made moves to buy Activision Blizzard with a staggering offer of $68.7 billion, which was in turn accepted. However, this deal has been far from straightforward. The reason being is that Microsoft has to gain the approval of market regulators from across the world.

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PlayStation boss Jim Ryan is against the Activision takeover

Microsoft’s main competitor, Sony has been strongly against the acquisition or at the very least, fearful of Xbox holding the rights to the Call of Duty franchise. At the forefront of Sony’s push to strangle the Microsoft acquisition is SIE boss Jim Ryan.

Call of Duty is one of the biggest franchises in the industry and has enjoyed excellent player growth. Especially ever since the introduction of crossplay for its free-to-play battle royale, Warzone in 2020.

To be fair Microsoft has previously suggested that Call of Duty will remain multiplatform even if the takeover is completed. When Microsoft met with regulators in Brazil, the industry giant said that it simply wouldn’t be profitable to have Call of Duty as an Xbox exclusive. Recently, Brazilian regulators approved the deal.

xbox phil spencer
Credit: E3/Microsoft

Furthermore, Xbox chief Phil Spencer publicly claimed a deal with Sony would guarantee that the CoD series would remain on PlayStation for “several more years” beyond the current agreement with Activision Blizzard. This suggests that a current deal might be temporary, rather than permanent.

Shots were fired between Spencer and Ryan

However, at least according to Jim Ryan, no such deal has been agreed upon with Sony and Microsoft. “Microsoft has only offered for Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement between Activision and Sony ends,” said Ryan.

jim ryan playstation
Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Ryan continued: “After almost 20 years of Call of Duty on PlayStation, their proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers. We want to guarantee PlayStation gamers continue to have the highest quality Call of Duty experience, and Microsoft’s proposal undermines this principle.

Recently, Ryan flew to Brussels, and along with Google, argued their case to EU regulators about the negative impact of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. In a nutshell, it’s feared that Microsoft’s grasp on the industry monopoly would be too strong.

Call of Duty could come to Xbox Game Pass

microsoft xbox game pass
Credit: Microsoft

One of the standout concerns is the entire Call of Duty franchise coming to Xbox Game Pass. It’s believed that having the CoD franchise on Microsoft’s subscription service would persuade gamers to choose to play the series on Xbox instead of PlayStation. To be fair, Sony probably isn’t wrong.

However, the tug-of-war between Microsoft and Sony is far from over. As reported by VGC, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has stated that Sony is concerned that even if Call of Duty remains on PlayStation, gamers will be swayed in favour of Xbox related to “exclusive features”.

Both PlayStation and Xbox had “exclusive perks”

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Now, please correct me if I am wrong. During the early years of Call of Duty on Xbox, Microsoft had a deal with Activision to bring certain maps first to its console. 

An agreement was in place for the original Modern Warfare 2 which resulted in the Stimulus and Resurgence DLC Map Packs being exclusive to Xbox 360 for 30 days. However, in recent years, Sony has held timed-exclusive rights which not only involved certain multiplayer maps, but also certain modes for at least an entire year.

Whichever way you look at it, there have been various points in the history of Call of Duty when both Sony and Microsoft have had some form of exclusive deals. In all cases, neither company had any issues when certain deals were in its favour. As the old saying goes “don’t throw stones in glass houses.

call of duty modern warfare
Credit: Activision

Here’s what Sony and Microsoft said on exclusive content:

According to SIE, gamers may expect that CoD on Xbox will include extra content and enhanced interoperability with the console hardware, in addition to any benefits from membership in XGP. SIE submitted that these factors are likely to influence gamers’ choice of console.”

In response to concerns over the Call of Duty franchise, Microsoft said that Sony is not “vulnerable to a hypothetical foreclosure strategy” and is “significantly exaggerating the importance of Call of Duty”.

Microsoft added: “While Sony may not welcome increased competition, it has the ability to adapt and compete. Gamers will ultimately benefit from this increased competition and choice.

fans will miss out on the PlayStation and Xbox Call of Duty war

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Credit: Activision/Infinity Ward

Some gamers can perceive one company to be more consumer-friendly than the other. Let’s not forget that Sony is a billion-dollar company and Microsoft is a trillion-dollar company. Both are industry giants and both businesses have the goal of making as much money as possible. In my opinion, it’s not about what’s best for the players, it’s about which company makes more money and holds more power than the other.

I’ve never been a fan of timed-exclusive DLC. All it ever does is ensure that some fans pay more money for the same game, but may be an inferior product depending on their platform of choice. 

While the two industry giants argue like petulant children about who gets to be player one, ultimately, it’s likely the loyal fan that is to suffer from this seemingly never-ending Call of Duty console war.

While you’re here, be sure to check out our video of the week. 10 of the scariest horror games of all time are shown off. What is your favourite horror game?

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Featured Image Credit: Activision/Source: VGC