Unless you’re still rocking the Xbox 360 or PS3, it can be hard to access older titles, some of which are in the Call of Duty franchise. The Microsoft Activision deal is now finally complete now that it has been approved by the UK’s regulator, opening up the possibilities of COD games coming to Xbox Game Pass. PlayStation players have enjoyed plenty of COD benefits over the years, and there is still a chance the franchise could find a home on PS Plus due to Ubisoft’s surprise role in the merger.
Assassin’s Creed Mirage developer Ubisoft, acting in an intermediary role, will “prevent the distribution of important, popular content – including games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch […] from coming under the control of Microsoft in relation to cloud gaming.” If some of the best FPS games in Activision Blizzard’s arsenal become available on Xbox Game Pass, Microsofot won’t be prohibiting other services from enjoying the same convenience.
Following concerns around Microsoft siphoning a significant portion of business into cloud gaming, which is a core benefit of Game Pass, the Competition and Markets Authority now confirms that the “CMA did identify limited residual concerns with the new deal, but Microsoft gave undertakings that will ensure that the terms of the sale of Activision’s rights to Ubisoft are enforceable by the CMA.” Xbox Game Pass allows players to stream certain titles, whether that is on mobile or on their computers. PlayStation is set to enter that arena again, as the announcement of PS5 cloud streaming is poised to roll out soon.
Commenting on the new deal between the Xbox and Call of Duty titans, chair of the independent panel Martin Coleman clarifies that “cloud distribution of Activision games, old and new, is taken away from Microsoft and put into the hands of Ubisoft, an independent party who is committed to widening access to the games. That’s better for competition, better for consumers and better for economic growth.”
Activision previously discussed the notion of COD games, like Modern Warfare 3, coming to Microsoft’s subscription service. While it won’t be happening immediately when the Modern Warfare 3 release date arrives, work is already beginning at Xbox to bring ABK games to Game Pass. Now that Ubisoft is acting as a mediator between the two companies, cloud gaming-related benefits to PlayStation players regarding the COD franchise are still possible. With PS Plus now pushing cloud gaming too, there is a chance COD titles could appear on the rival subscription service in a streamed capacity.
Games like Black Ops3, Black Ops 4, Call of Duty WW2 have all appeared as redeemable games in the PS Plus monthly selection, but aren’t found in the Extra or Premium library. Ubisoft also operates its own form of game streaming, under the Ubisoft+ service, so we could see COD titles appear there too.
The deal, valued at a massive $68.7 billion, was originally announced in January 2022. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick addresses the deal’s success in a company-wide email: “We now have all regulatory approvals necessary to close, and we look forward to bringing joy and connection to even more players around the world.” Furthermore, Kotick adds ” we’re excited for our next chapter together with Microsoft and the endless possibilities it creates for you and for our players.”
Meanwhile, Xbox head Phil Spencer says that the deal will “unlock a world of possibilities for more ways to play” some of the biggest franchises in gaming.
There’s still hope to dash around classic COD maps, and other Activision IP, on PS Plus in the future. We’re still holding out for a Tony Hawk’s Underground remaster, though. However, if you are after some new games to play, then the PS Plus Extra and Premium October 2023 games roster has got you covered.