Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan has spoken out against Xbox’s exclusivity plans for Call of Duty, calling the reassurances from Microsoft’s Phil Spencer ‘inadequate on many levels’. Recently, Spencer claimed that Microsoft had committed to allowing the series to remain on PlayStation for at least three years after the current agreement between Sony and Activision ends.
Ryan claims that while the agreement goes beyond most exisiting deals in the industry, Sony is still unhappy with the limitations of the proposal.
‘I hadn’t intended to comment on what I understood to be a private business discussion, but I feel the need to set the record straight because Phil Spencer brought this into the public forum,’ Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz in a recent interview.
‘Microsoft has only offered for Call of Duty to remain on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement between Activision and Sony ends. 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.’
While the details of this arrangement have not been made public, it’s believed that Xbox has committed to launching at least the next few Call of Duty games with equal parity and content on both Xbox and PlayStation consoles. This likely includes the upcoming Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone‘s major sequel, as well as an upcoming title from developer Treyarch. Beyond these releases, the status of the franchise is unknown.
The loose ‘three year’ agreement has caused great controversy at Sony, which previously had a deal with Activision for exclusive content. With Activision Blizzard now in the process of being purchased by Microsoft, the controversy has grown in scope.
That’s despite Microsoft assuring players and companies in legal documents that Call of Duty would remain a non-exclusive title due to lack of financial viability.
It appears that Sony is calling for an extension on the agreement in order to protect access to the Call of Duty franchise and its exclusive content on PlayStation in the years to come. As the Activision Blizzard acquisition continues, expect to hear more about this spat.