The FTC took Microsoft to court over the merger with Activision Blizzard. This was because of concerns that the acquisition would harm the gaming market, particularly due to the potential of Call of Duty becoming exclusive to Xbox.
Following a long battle in court, Microsoft emerged victorious, allowing them to proceed with the deal. With the CMA also ready to negotiate over the deal, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard seems highly likely.
This would allow Microsoft to become the owner of the Call of Duty franchise. As such, the franchise would join Game Pass after the merger.
Why it matters: The series holds immense significance as one of the biggest games in the industry. Having the games available on Game Pass would further enhance the subscription’s appeal and result in increased sales.
However, based on the information provided in the CMA’s final report, there may be a delay before fans see Call of Duty on Game Pass.
The report states that the games would not be available on Game Pass until 2025 if the deal goes through. While this might be disappointing, the entire franchise will eventually arrive on the subscription.
Microsoft currently offers backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games. Games like the genre-defining Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 can be played on modern Xbox Series S|X consoles.
However, rivals like the PS5 do not have this option. Backward compatibility would mean that nearly every game from the Xbox 360 to the latest releases could soon join Xbox Game Pass.
With the exception of the very first Call of Duty and a few spin-offs, Game Pass would become the go-to subscription for fans of the FPS franchise. Call of Duty on the subscription would also be a huge influence on customers.
Fans should note that many older Call of Duty games are in an unplayable state on consoles. This applies to the multiplayer experience, with nearly all older games being filled with hackers.
Once Microsoft completes the deal, the gaming giant could revisit these games and ensure they are safe for fans to enjoy. Microsoft could also consider fulfilling longtime demands for more remasters and remakes.
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