Call of Duty on PS Plus? Microsoft-Activision deal may make it so
Call of Duty could eventually come to both your Xbox Series X and PS5 subscription services
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Call of Duty on PS Plus
😮 Microsoft is willing to let Sony sell Call of Duty through PS Plus if its Activision Blizzard deal passes
📅 The offer was made as part of Microsoft’s deal to stick Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles for the next 10 years
⛔ Sony doesn’t seem impressed, though, and is still opposing the deal
🔨 US antitrust regulator the FTC recently sued to block the acquisition
Microsoft has reportedly promised Sony the opportunity to put Call of Duty on PS Plus if its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved by regulators.
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As reported by Bloomberg, Microsoft offered Sony the right to sell Call of Duty on the PlayStation subscription service as part of the same deal that committed it to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles for the next 10 years.
The New York Times first reported the offer last month, but it wasn’t then known PS Plus listings were also on the table. Sony has remained opposed to the acquisition, however, and the FTC has sued Microsoft to block the acquisition as rumors suggested it would.
Why Call of Duty on PS Plus matters
The inclusion of Call of Duty games on PS Plus is significant for the game industry and gamers alike. Sony has repeatedly claimed the deal would grant Microsoft an unfair competitive advantage, highlighting Microsoft’s intention of putting Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass if the deal closes. Microsoft likely hopes that by sharing Call of Duty with PS Plus – Sony’s rival to Xbox Game Pass – it can go some way to alleviate the concerns of regulators.
For gamers, this proposed Call of Duty deal would put one of the most popular video game franchises on the two major subscription services, whether you owned a PS5 or Xbox Series X. Microsoft’s service costs $100 a year with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 12-month discount code (MSRP is $180 when bought at retail price), while Sony’s service is now priced around $40 a year at its most basic level ($60 a year) with a PlayStation Plus discount code. Given the fact that new Call of Duty games launch at $70, this deal is a game changer.
We’ll have to see if regulators are swayed by Microsoft’s argument. Sony recently revealed the number of PS Plus members fell by two million users last quarter, the third consecutive quarter in which the total subscribers declined. This is despite the fact that more PlayStation 5 consoles are out there with the uptick in PS5 restock opportunities. If regulators aren’t convinced PS Plus is a real competitor to Xbox Game Pass, Call of Duty’s presence on the service won’t count for much.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer only recently spoke out about Sony’s opposition to the deal and claimed the PlayStation maker wanted to stymie the growth of Xbox because it doesn’t have a viable plan for its future.
"Sony is trying to protect its dominance on the console. The way they grow is by making Xbox smaller," Spencer said, and added Sony was the “only major opposer to the deal”.
"[Sony] has a very different view of the industry than we do. They don't ship their games day and date on PC, they do not put their games into their subscription when they launch their games,” Spencer added.
As well as US antitrust regulators, EU and UK regulators are scrutinizing the deal. Rumors suggest Microsoft is willing to offer concessions to have it passed in the EU, although Activision Blizzard is confident the deal will successfully close.