Xbox boss Phil Spencer has, once again, gone on the record to clarify Call of Duty’s future on PlayStation should Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard be approved.
Previously, the Xbox boss promised that Call of Duty would continue to ship on Sony’s consoles “as long as there’s a PlayStation to ship to.” Now, speaking on the Decoder podcast, Spencer has further clarified his statement (not that it really needed clarifying), making it as clear as it possibly can be that Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation.
Phil Spencer open to “contractual commitment” for Call of Duty on PlayStation
“I understand in the optics of this deal that we might want to make — and I’m totally open to doing this — 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,” Spencer said.
“When I’m saying things like, ‘As long as there is a PlayStation,’ there was no implied threat at all. I hope there’s a PlayStation forever. I do. I think PlayStation and Nintendo are great for the gaming industry. Hopefully, I have been consistent in saying that. All I mean is that at some point, you have to have the ability to run your business, and not just the console business. It’s not about pulling the rug out from underneath the PlayStation 7’s legs at some point, like, ‘Haha, you just didn’t write the contract long enough!'”
Earlier this year, Spencer revealed that Microsoft had sent a signed agreement to Sony to guarantee Call of Duty on PlayStation for “at least several more years.” Not long after, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan called this deal “inadequate on many levels,” saying it failed to take into account the impact on PlayStation gamers.
“There’s no contract that could be written that says ‘forever,'” Spencer said on the podcast. “Our model is we want to be where players are, especially with franchises the size of Minecraft and Call of Duty. I think our Minecraft history is coming up on eight, nine years, and it shows in practice how we will support our customers. That’s what I want to do with Call of Duty.
“This idea that we would write a contract that says the word ‘forever’ in it is a little bit silly, but to make a longer-term commitment that Sony and regulators would be comfortable with, I have no issue with at all. I do think there’s going to be a time horizon, just like anybody writing a contract would suggest there should be and will be, but it has nothing to do with any kind of ‘strategery’ there. We think Call of Duty will be on PlayStation as long as players want to play Call of Duty on PlayStation. That’s not a competitive threat against PlayStation. That’s just a kind of pragmatic way of looking at it.”
At this point, it couldn’t be clearer what Microsoft’s intentions are when it comes to Call of Duty and PlayStation. With UK and EU competition regulators currently scrutinising the deal, hopefully, Spencer’s promises will be taken into account.