There is one question Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer always has to address whenever he is guesting at shows and events: the fate of Call of Duty on PlayStation. And his answers remain the same all the time, saying Microsoft doesn’t have any plans on removing the game from the platform once the $69 billion Activision acquisition deal clears. Despite these revolving doors of the same answers and assurance, however, Sony just keeps expressing its disapproval of the merger. So here is Spencer again translating his message in a more direct way — Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation “as long as there’s a PlayStation.”
In a recent podcast interview with YouTubers Justine and Jenna Ezarik, Spencer directly compared Microsoft’s plan to Call of Duty to Minecraft, which the company acquired in 2014. Instead of limiting it to its platform, Spencer stated that the game experienced great expansion in other places. The Xbox lead says this is the same path awaiting Activision’s first-person shooter video game.
“As long as there’s a PlayStation out there to ship to, our intent is that we continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation,” Spencer told the YouTubers on the Same Brain podcast. “Similar to what we’ve done with Minecraft, since we’ve owned that, we’ve expanded the places people can play Minecraft. We haven’t reduced the places, and it’s been good for the Minecraft community in my opinion, and I want to do the same as we think about where Call of Duty can go.”
The statement reflects Spencer’s earlier announcement during The Wall Street Journal’s tech conference last week. At the event, he mentioned the company’s plan to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo Switch, showing its dedication to keeping the game’s availability even on competitors’ platforms.
“This franchise will continue to ship on PlayStation natively—it’s not our plan to bait and switch somebody where they’ve got to play in the cloud or that in two to three years we’re going to pull the game,” Spencer said. “Our intent is that we would continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation as long as that makes sense… tech is always in some form of transition.”
Prior to this, Spencer even tried to reassure the PlayStation head, Jim Ryan, through a written letter, saying Microsoft would keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for “several more years” beyond Sony and Activision’s contract. However, Ryan described the “proposal was inadequate on many levels and failed to take account of the impact on our gamers.”
Despite these steps meant to convince the world that the merger will cause no harm in the market and Microsoft’s competitors, the tech giant is still struggling to receive the approval of different regulators around the globe. While it already has the blessings of Sudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition and Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense, its deal is still being scrutinized by other competition watchdogs, including FTC, European Commission, and UK Competition and Markets Authority.