Xbox and PlayStation are having a pretty public spat over where Call of Duty will be playable going forward. It goes without saying that Call of Duty is one of the biggest franchises in the history of entertainment, consistently racking up billions of dollars in sales and microtransactions. The brand has only become more valuable with free-to-play spin-offs like Call of Duty: Mobile and Call of Duty: Warzone elevating the brand and offering other sources of revenue outside of the yearly mainline release. It's a pillar of the online gaming community and has played into being a marquee franchise for both Xbox and PlayStation at different points in time due to marketing exclusivity deals. Now, things are changing with the impending closure of Xbox's acquisition of Activision.
Previously, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer had stated that he plans to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation and guaranteed it would continue to exist on there for at least several more years. However, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan has some gripes with this and doesn't think the deal is "adequate". Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Ryan aired out his grievances with the future of Call of Duty on PlayStation and suggests that this deal would only ensure the game is available on the platform for the next three releases, which would likely mean Call of Duty has the opportunity to become an Xbox exclusive in 2026.
"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," said Ryan. "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.
It's unclear as of right now if Xbox just hasn't put it in writing that Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation after the marketing deal ends – as Xbox may want flexibility in the future about how it releases the game – or if Xbox really does plan to make it an exclusive in a few years. It's likely that this won't be the end of the story. As for how Spencer and Xbox will respond remains to be seen.
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