Chatty Xbox chief Phil Spencer has reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to releasing Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms, with his statements strengthening every time. As the trillion dollar tech juggernaut battles to get its near-$70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard over the line, the suit has said that Call of Duty will continue to release on Sony’s systems “as long as there's a PlayStation out there to ship to”. In other words, if there’s a PlayStation in shops, Call of Duty will be available on it.
Regulators are still unsure of whether to greenlight Microsoft’s proposed buyout, with Call of Duty a big sticking point. Sony has argued that its business will be irreparably damaged should the acquisition go through, while Xbox has been eager to point out that it will continue to release on PlayStation regardless. Sony bigwig Jim Ryan recently went public about an “inadequate” offer his company had received from Microsoft, which pledged to keep the first-person shooter on PlayStation for “three years after the current agreement” his firm has with Activision Blizzard.
The latest comments from Spencer seem to go further than that, though: “Our intent is not to [remove Call of Duty] and as long as there's a PlayStation out there to ship to, our intent is that we'll continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation – similar to what we've done with Minecraft since we owned that. We've expanded the places where people can play Minecraft, we haven't reduced the places. And it's been good, it's been good for the Minecraft community – in my opinion – and we want to do the same when we think where Call of Duty can go over the years.”
To be honest, this entire saga is draped in legalese, with both platform holders playing the victims. It remains to be seen what regulators will decide, but we can’t see the deal not going through. Earlier today, Sony declared that the latest instalment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, enjoyed the biggest launch ever for a Call of Duty on the PS Store. It’s a statement that we can’t help but think is aimed at influencing regulators’ decisions.