Xbox might finally buy Call of Duty, but the series will need PS5

By Lee Brady,

Microsoft has taken a significant step closer to owning Call of Duty, but don't expect the series to leave PS5 any time soon.

Sony's concerns of Microsoft impairing Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles have seemingly gone unheard, as a recent report from the UK's CMA suggests Microsoft might soon take ownership of Call of Duty regardless. The Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard King now seems poised for approval after the CMA suggested Call of Duty leaving PS5 to go Xbox exclusive "would not be commercially beneficial" for Microsoft.

Call of DutyCall of Duty still caught between Xbox and PlayStation.

Call of Duty incentivised to stay on PlayStation after Xbox buyout

The new report relaxes various concerns the CMA had regarding Microsoft owning Call of Duty after new evidence suggested that Xbox exclusivity for the series "would be significantly loss-making under any plausible scenario." The CMA also eventually sided with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, citing evidence that suggests the acquisition "will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in relation to console gaming in the UK."

While the CMA still remains concerned cloud gaming services could give Microsoft too much of an advantage thanks to the PlayStation-Xbox "Network Effect,", it seems much of Sony's loudest arguments have been dismissed outright here. If no major concerns are found in the cloud gaming segment, Microsoft will finally get approved for the merger in the UK, and Sony will be wishing they had taken that Call of Duty PS Plus offer a few months back.

PS Plus Call of DutyIt was a bit of a gift, Sony.

That said, it seems unlikely that Call of Duty will be leaving the PS5 anytime in the near future even if a deal between Xbox and PlayStation isn't reached. As the CMA wrote: "The updated analysis now shows that it would not be commercially beneficial for Microsoft to make CoD exclusive to Xbox following the deal, but that Microsoft will instead still have the incentive to continue to make the game available on PlayStation."

Whether Microsoft will make good on that incentive or not we can't know, but there's something about the significant loss-making "under any plausible scenario" line that suggests PS5 owners are in no danger of losing access to those Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 trophies anytime soon. Indeed, for the foreseeable future, Microsoft will need PlayStation to keep the series profitable — Sony might just have to deal with the problem before Call of Duty skips the PS6.

Let us know in the comments how relieved you are to hear this whole acquisition ordeal might finally be coming to a close, and whether you're concerned about Microsoft taking Call of Duty exclusive someday.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium, recent Sony news), and his secret third eye on the junk he really likes (Sonic Superstars, Final Fantasy XVI). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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