This Year's Call of Duty May Not Be Included in Xbox Game Pass After All 1
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One of the big reasons Xbox fans were so eager for Microsoft to purchase Activision Blizzard was the promise of the juggernaut publisher’s output being included in subscription Game Pass at no extra cost. However, it appears the bean counters at the Redmond firm are reconsidering, and Xbox Series X|S owners may have to pay the same price as PS5 fans to play this year’s Call of Duty game, which is widely expected to be a Black Ops entry set during the Gulf War.

According to a sprawling report by The Verge’s Tom Warren, the Redmond firm has been furiously debating whether to include Call of Duty in its subscription service. Here’s the rub: the FPS franchise makes a lot of money through full-price sales, but if Microsoft were to honour its commitment of including first-party releases in Game Pass on day one, it stands to lose a significant chunk of change here. At a time when it’s desperately trying to cut costs, that seems dangerous.

Of course, the company finds itself between a rock and a hard place. It’s repeatedly promised to its fans that all of its internally developed software will be included upon release with Game Pass, and it even appeared to extend that commitment to Activision Blizzard titles during its business update broadcast earlier in the year. One option might be for it to increase the monthly cost of its subscription, which is something it’s apparently been contemplating as well.

It’s going to be fascinating to see which side of the fence it eventually falls on. Obviously, very little changes for PlayStation whatever it decides: Sony has a contract with Microsoft which will ensure Call of Duty continues to release on PS5 and beyond for at least the next decade, where it’ll be flogged as a full-price title. Xbox, meanwhile, will need to determine what it favours more here: is it going to retain its promise to subscribers – or simply renege on its word in favour of profitability?