As part of Microsoft’s continued efforts to close the deal on the Activision Blizzard acquisition, Xbox Head Phil Spencer took an oath about the future of Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles.
The promise was made on the second day of the hearing in San Francisco on the FTC’s latest attempt to halt Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal at the advice of the presiding judge. The five-day event is just halfway over, but it has already provided much information about Microsoft and the gaming industry.
This includes anything from a possible release date for The Elder Scrolls 6 to a frank admission from Microsoft that the Xbox lost the console wars. Spencer’s testimony dominated the second day of the hearing, which lasted far into the afternoon of June 23.
Midway through the discussion, Spencer brought up how terrible it would be for Microsoft and Xbox to take Call of Duty from PlayStation in terms of immediate financial blow and public outcry.
District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley asked the Xbox head whether he would be willing to reaffirm that promise under oath, and he agreed. Spencer swore under testimony that Xbox would “continue to ship future versions of Call of Duty on the PlayStation 5.” Two hours later, the CEO elaborated, saying he meant all “future PlayStations, ” not simply Sony’s current-gen platform.
Take a look at the tweets that are compiled down below-
Q Is it incorrect or correct to say that Microsoft will always make its games exclusive?
Q Does that include ZeniMax games
Q And Activision games
— Derek Strickland (@DeekeTweak) June 23, 2023
The FTC’s legal team interjected between Spencer’s two statements, asking if he would be willing to take an oath to ensure that Call of Duty titles would continue to be available on competing platforms to Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service.
That line of questioning was cut short by Judge Corley, who stated emphatically that she “doesn’t need that.” After learning about Microsoft’s 10-year plans to port all Xbox PC games to Nvidia GeForce Now and other cloud gaming services, the judge likely ruled. It’s also possible that the judge wasn’t ready to rule on the cloud gaming implications of the contract when she was dismissed.
Look at the tweets listed below-
Spencer says that from a “form factor” perspective the PS5 and Series X “look functionally more equivalent.”
But won’t say they are ‘closer’ competitors than Xbox-Nintendo.
— Michael Acton (@MActon93) June 23, 2023
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To support his promise to maintain Call of Duty on PlayStation, Spencer has insisted that the Activision Blizzard acquisition is driven more by mobile than by console gaming. He proved that Microsoft had considered acquiring one of the world’s leading mobile game makers. However, he ultimately settled on Activision Blizzard instead because it owned King, the company responsible for the immensely popular Candy Crush Saga.