Call of Duty is unlikely to be an Xbox-exclusive franchise

Microsoft has discussed the future of the Call of Duty franchise in a new document.
call of duty microsoft exclusive game ubisoft activision blizzard

In the process of finalising its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has detailed the future of the Call of Duty franchise, and how it may change going forward. In legal documents filed to the Brazil Administrative Council for Economic Defense, Microsoft has claimed that Call of Duty players won’t have to worry about the game becoming an Xbox console exclusive game, as it wouldn’t be a profitable move for the company.

‘Regardless of how unsurprising Sony‘s criticism of content exclusivity is – given that PlayStation’s entire strategy has been centred on exclusivity over the years – the reality is that the strategy of retaining Activision Blizzard’s games by not distributing them in rival console shops would simply not be profitable for Microsoft,’ the document reportedly states, per VGC.

‘Such a strategy would be profitable only if Activision Blizzard’s games were able to attract a sufficiently large number of gamers to the Xbox console ecosystem, and if Microsoft could earn enough revenue from game sales to offset the losses from not distributing such games on rival consoles.’

Read: Every Activision Blizzard franchise Microsoft could resurrect

According to Microsoft, even the process of making games exclusive results in additional, insurmountable costs, which would lead to major financial losses. While the company has not ruled out making the series exclusive, it appears to be a non-viable option for as long as it maintains its existing player base.

It’s unlikely Microsoft will suddenly gain the ‘sufficiently large’ number of new players it would need to justify making the Call of Duty franchise exclusive, which means fans can rest easy knowing the upcoming Activision Blizzard acquisition is unlikely to change the status quo.

Justifying its position, Microsoft has also detailed that making the franchise exclusive would have ‘no competitive impact’ given the current, wildly competitive video game market – and the fact that other consoles reportedly have more loyal players.

‘The hypothetical adoption of any content discontinuation strategy would content would not be profitable for Microsoft and, even if implemented, such strategies would have no competitive impact, for the reasons described above,’ the company concluded in its report.

It appears to be a very definitive answer to the question on many players’ minds – and should settle the ongoing anxiety around Microsoft potentially making the Activision Blizzard library exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.