Xbox reiterates plans to release Activision titles like Call of Duty on Game Pass and PlayStation

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has published a new blog post to unpack the company's plans for the Call of Duty maker should its acquisition be approved

Xbox is once again promising that Activision Blizzard series like Call of Duty will remain multiplatform once its pending acquisition of the publishing giant is approved.

Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, reiterated Xbox’s plans in a September 1st Microsoft Blog post.

“We’ve heard that this deal might take franchises like Call of Duty away from the places where people currently play them,” wrote Spencer. “That’s why, as we’ve said before, we are committed to making the same version of Call of Duty available on PlayStation on the same day the game launches elsewhere.  We will continue to enable people to play with each other across platforms and across devices.”

As an example of that commitment, Spencer cited how Xbox has continued to support Minecraft across all platforms ever since its 2014 acquisition of developer Mojang.

Of course, Spencer also repeated previous statements that Microsoft’s intention is to “make Activision Blizzard’s much-loved library of games – including Overwatch, Diablo and Call of Duty — available in Game Pass.”

Spencer’s blog post comes as Microsoft and Sony have been butting heads over the former’s planned buyout of Activision Blizzard. According to Sony, Microsoft owning the Call of Duty maker would be anti-competitive, as it would drive many people away from PlayStation to get Call of Duty on Game Pass elsewhere. Microsoft, meanwhile, responded by claiming that PlayStation pays for “blocking rights” to keep games off of Game Pass and other subscription services.

As the deal continues to go through regulatory bodies worldwide, Spencer is clearly attempting to smooth over concerns regarding how Xbox will handle Activision Blizzard games.

Elsewhere in the blog, Spencer noted that Xbox intends to leverage Activision Blizzard’s “expertise” in mobile game development to “help us understand how to create games that engage players around the world.” Even before the announcement of the acquisition, Spencer has discussed how Microsoft’s plans for gaming extend to the roughly three billion people who play games across all devices, including mobile.

Spencer added that Microsoft intends to continue to use its cloud game streaming technology to bring console-quality gaming experiences like Activision Blizzard’s portfolio to mobile devices. He also said this would extend to “devices that people already own,” including smart TVs and laptops.

In a separate news release, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick provided an update on the pending acquisition, saying “the process with all of the regulators is generally moving along as we expected.” As a result, he still anticipates that the deal to be completed by June 2023, which was the window that Microsoft first mentioned back in January.

The big question that remains should the deal go through, however, is what happens with Kotick. The embattled executive has come under fire amid a lawsuit pertaining to widespread allegations of a toxic “frat boy” work culture within Activision Blizzard. Since July 2021, numerous employees and contractors have come forward to accuse the company of sexual misconduct, harassment, unequal pay and more. Kotick was specifically accused of not only knowing of these events but actively working to cover them up. There has since been calls for Kotick to resign, although he remains in his leadership role and it’s not yet clear whether he will leave upon the closure of the deal.

Source: Microsoft