Xbox won’t make Call of Duty worse on PlayStation — here’s why

Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 (Image credit: Activision)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft aims to purchase Activision Blizzard, the publisher of Call of Duty, for $69 billion.  
  • The FTC hopes to convince a US judge to grant a preliminary injunction temporarily restricting Microsoft from closing the deal.  
  • During the preliminary injunction hearing, Activision Blizard CEO Bobby Kotick commented on the idea of downgrading Call of Duty on PlayStation.  

One of the Federal Trade Commission’s central arguments against Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is the potential negative impact of competitors losing juggernaut franchises like Call of Duty. Xbox has repeatedly extended assurances that rival platforms will continue to receive Activision content. The tech company has even offered legally binding contracts guaranteeing Call of Duty on Nintendo, NVIDIA GeForce Now, and others for 10 years if the transaction is completed. 

However, despite these promises from Xbox, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan still has his doubts. In a CMA remedies hearing, Ryan suggested Xbox might provide downgraded versions of Call of Duty on PlayStation that would “seriously damage our reputation.” During the ongoing preliminary injunction hearing between Xbox vs FTC, key members of Xbox and Activision have taken the stand to address these concerns. According to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, there’s no incentive to release worse versions on competing platforms because of “vitriol from gamers.”  

You’d (get) vitriol from gamers that would be well deserved. People who make video games have great pride in the work they do.

Bobby Kotick - Activision Blizzard CEO

When pressed by a Microsoft lawyer about “different maps and weapons” exclusively launching on one platform, Kotick stated that this isn’t equivalent to downgrading any version of the game. The Activision Blizzard CEO claimed these decisions to supply supplemental content to Call of Duty were merely marketing deals.  

Windows Central's take

The idea that any developer or publisher would intentionally release suboptimal versions of games sounds rather outlandish. Undoubtedly, budget restrictions and time limitations theoretically impact available resources for any major multiplatform release, but assuming these development realities are rendered with malicious intent feels unfounded. We’ve witnessed numerous developers speak on the matter and declare that statements like Jim Ryan’s that suggest developers would purposely ship an inferior release are “asinine.”  

The courtroom showdown between Microsoft and the FTC has relinquished heaps of juicy email exchanges, Xbox Game Pass opinions, brutal business strategies, and so much more. Keep your eyes peeled on Windows Central for our breaking coverage of the ongoing preliminary injunction hearing. 

Miles Dompier

Miles Dompier is a Freelance Video Producer for Windows Central, focusing on video content for Windows Central Gaming. In addition to writing or producing news, reviews, and gaming guides, Miles delivers fun, community-focused videos for the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel. Miles also hosts Xbox Chaturdays every Saturday, which serves as the Windows Central Gaming weekly podcast.

  • Thretosix
    Exactly, why wouldn't Microsoft want to make the best possible COD game the PS5 can do. It would just dilute the product as a whole. They are in the business to make money. It would be cool if it went cross platform gameplay and have xbox vs. playstation battles as an option. I don't even play COD.