Xbox boss Phil Spencer really wants everyone (including regulators looking at Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard) to know he’s not taking Call of Duty away from PlayStation for a good long time. That said, he’s not quite willing to make a “forever” commitment yet.
Ever since Microsoft announced their intention to purchase Activision Blizzard for $69 billion, the fate of Call of Duty has been top of many players’ minds. Spencer has indicated Microsoft will treat Call of Duty the same way they treat Minecraft and offered to extend their agreement with Sony for a reported three years, but PlayStation boss Jim Ryan lambasted the deal as “inadequate on many levels.”
Well, in a new interview on the Decoder podcast, Spencer made things even clearer. He’s up for signing a longer-term contract with Sony and promises there’s no trick coming – far off in the future the PS7 could still be getting CoD. That said, Spencer won’t sign a “forever” contract, because c’mon, a guy still needs to keep his options open.
"I'm totally open to [making] a contractual commitment to Sony for some number of years, that says, ‘Okay, we're going to continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation.’ I'm totally open to that. No issue at all.
It’s not about at some point I pull the rug underneath PlayStation 7’s legs and it’s ‘Ahaha you just didn’t write the contract long enough.' [But] there’s no contract that could be written that says 'forever.' [...] This idea that we would write a contract that says the word forever in it, I think is a little bit silly, but to make a longer-term commitment that Sony would be comfortable with, regulators would be comfortable with, I have no issue with that at all."
Spencer also clarified that “continuing to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation” doesn’t mean, “Yeah, you can still have it if you allow Game Pass on your system.” No, these will be native versions, and hey, if Sony wants to put CoD on PS Plus, it sounds like Spencer is up for that, too.
“Native Call of Duty on PlayStation, not linked to them having to carry Game Pass, not streaming. If they want a streaming version of Call of Duty we could do that as well, just like we do on our own consoles.
There’s nothing behind my back. It is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, doing great on PlayStation, doing great on Xbox. The next game, the next, next, next, next, next [game]. Native on the platform, not having to subscribe to Game Pass. Sony does not have to take Game Pass on their platform to make that happen.”
So, there you have it, Spencer promises Call of Duty is absolutely, positively staying on PlayStation for a long time… just not necessarily forever. Of course, Spencer still leaving himself that out will continue to spawn all sorts of speculation. Sorry Phil, some people are always going to be suspicious until you give Sony that ring they’re asking for.
Activision Blizzard has faced a series of lawsuits and other legal action on the heels of a suit filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) alleging widespread gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment at the Call of Duty publisher. You can get more details on that unfolding story here.
What do you think? Are Call of Duty and PlayStation going to be together forever? Or is Spencer secretly formulating exit strategies?