Activision reportedly wanted better revenue split before Call of Duty would come to Xbox Series X|S

Call Of Duty Black Ops Cold War Screenshot
(Image credit: Activision Publishing)

What you need to know

  • During a hearing for the FTC vs. Microsoft case, Xbox head of experiences Sarah Bond said that Activision initially wouldn't commit to working on Xbox Series X|S consoles. 
  • According to Bond, Activision was one of the last publishers to work on the new Xbox consoles, and the publisher asked for a higher revenue split on Call of Duty games before any work would begin. 
  • This revenue split was already in place with PlayStation, which has an extensive marketing deal around Call of Duty games. 
  • Bond says that due to the timing around the situation, Microsoft agreed to the new revenue split. 

The hearing between the FTC and Microsoft continues to yield interesting information. 

During the hearing, Xbox head of experiences Sarah Bond noted that in the lead-up to the launch of the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony, Activision Blizzard was one of the last publishers to start working on Xbox Series X|S consoles. Bond alleges that Activision wouldn't agree to work on the new Xbox systems until Microsoft agreed to a higher revenue split. 

Bond adds that due to the timing of everything, Microsoft decided to meet Activision's demands.

"Time was limited. We had players whose expectations we wanted to meet, so we ultimately made a decision that it was the best thing for the business.”

While it was supposed to remain confidential, the FTC lawyer accidentally revealed that the alternate revenue split 80/20, as opposed to the industry standard 70/30 used by most console manufacturers and PC storefronts in most situations.

Microsoft is currently working to acquire Activision Blizzard in a deal worth almost $69 billion. The purchase is being challenged in the U.S. by the FTC and the CMA in the U.K., while the European Commission and multiple other countries have approved the deal so far.

Windows Central's take

I'm enjoying all the little tidbits we're getting from this that would otherwise never see the light of day. It's been interesting so far, and this is just day one. 

As for the revenue split, I'm curious just what other games Microsoft currently agrees to the alternate split on or if any other situations could induce a similar decision.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.