The Call of Duty shooter series is one of the biggest pop culture brands in the world. For years, the series was also released for Sony consoles such as PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. That could change at some point with the purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. Xbox boss Phil Spencer has now guaranteed another release of CoD for the PS5. But what does Phil Spencer say exactly?
What statement could players on PS5 be worried about?
The head of Xbox gave this statement to site The Verge on September 2 (via theverge):
In January, we entered into a written agreement with Sony that guarantees Call of Duty will continue to appear on PlayStation, with “feature and content” parity, for at least several more years beyond the current Sony deal. An offer that goes well beyond the normal agreements in the gaming industry.
What does that mean? The statement says:
- Call of Duty will definitely be coming to PlayStation 5 for a few more years – probably for at least 4 more years
- Any content coming to PC and Xbox will also be coming to PlayStation
The key question, however, is: “How long does Sony now have the guarantee that new Call of Duty games will continue to appear on PlayStation 5?”
What is difficult about the statement? Phil Spencer remains deliberately vague:
- Neither does he explain how long Sony’s current agreement on Call of Duty lasts
- Nor does he explain exactly how long Microsoft’s “supplementary agreement” guarantees the release now
Both of the key pieces of information in the statement are therefore missing, and they are obviously deliberately missing. Spencer could have said yes, too. “It is contractually guaranteed that Call of Duty will continue to appear for the PlayStation until 202x.”
Call of Duty will continue to appear on PlayStation for the next few years:
How long is Call of Duty coming to PS5? The “current contract” that Sony has about Cal of Duty is said to run for “at least” two years, i.e. over 2022 and 2023. This was reported by the Bloomberg site in January 2022 (via bloomberg).
Phil Spencer said the new deal “guarantees several more years,” meaning at least two more years are guaranteed: 2024 and 2025.
So, if you follow the logic, Call of Duty should definitely appear on the PlayStation 5 by at least 2025.
PS5: Sony comments on Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard – “Call of Duty has no competition, never will”
So why is Xbox keeping Starfield and giving away Call of Duty to PS5?
Why is the situation so tricky? When it bought Bethesda in summer 2021, Xbox decided that Bethesda’s big new titles like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls 6 would not appear for the PlayStation. But the Bethesda deal went through smoothly.
Microsoft needs regulatory approvals to purchase Activision Blizzard. Sony has already pointed out that the takeover will put Call of Duty in the hands of Xbox, which could lead to a market imbalance. Because according to Sony, Call of Duty has no competition and never will have one.
If Sony’s assessment catches up with regulators, regulators could ban Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard. Phil Spencer seems to be countering this with the promise that Call of Duty is guaranteed to come to the PlayStation 5 for a few more years.
However, the danger is that Microsoft 2022 will only allow Call of Duty to continue appearing on PlayStation 5 for a few years to secure regulatory approval, but then, once the contracts expire, make Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox and power the PC.
The “catch” to Spencer’s generosity: Xbox could still capitalize on the Activision Blizzard purchase by adding Call of Duty to Xbox Game Pass on Day 1:
Xbox etches: Sony fears a new Call of Duty will come free in Game Pass on Day 1, destroying the PS5’s dominance