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Microsoft is keeping old COD games alive on Xbox, not Activision

If you're wondering who brought back those classic Call of Duty game servers ahead of the Microsoft merger, reports claim it was actually Xbox, not Activision.

Xbox classic Call of Duty servers: an image of Phil Spencer and Ghost from MW2

Do you remember when the online servers for all those classic Call of Duty games available on Xbox via backwards compatibility suddenly sprang to life on Xbox Live earlier in the year? Well, following confirmation that the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard King is actually happening – at long last – respected journalist Tom Warren claims that it’s actually Microsoft itself keeping those games alive on Xbox, not Activision.

A handful of weeks ago, a selection of the best Call of Duty games sprang to life on Xbox Live; the servers were switched on and working, they were on sale on Xbox for a little while, and life was good. Sure, you couldn’t count them among the best Xbox Game Pass games or anything, but the fact that you could hop into a Team Deathmatch in a Call of Duty game that was nearly 15 years old without any trouble was a marvel. Back then, the Modern Warfare 3 release date was a little ways away yet, and this was a fantastic way to play some classic multiplayer maps before the remasters on the MW3 maps list.

For a while, we didn’t really know why – or how – this actually happened; neither side commented on it, and we were all just left thankfully enjoying some nostalgia-fuelled sessions on some of the best FPS games we’ve ever seen. Now, though, Verge senior editor Tom Warren, appearing on the Iron Lords Podcast discussing the Microsoft Activision Blizzard King merger, says that it was Microsoft that actually fixed the old Xbox 360 servers for these classic Call of Duty games like World At War, Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare, and Black Ops – not Activision.

It’s something of a passing comment during a larger conversation about the impact of the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard King, but at around the 1:42:00 mark in the podcast VOD (which you can watch below) Warren says that “Microsoft was lighting those servers up, it wasn’t Activision, it was Microsoft that fixed those Xbox 360 servers”.

It’s an interesting tidbit of information, but, what does this actually mean? Well, right now, it’s hard to say. At the moment, it’s a sign that Xbox is willing to bring these older Activision game experiences back for players to enjoy – and a sign that it can actually do that. Beyond that, it could mean that we’ll be seeing Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass sooner rather than later.

If you want to see that, you’ll be pleased to know that work on bringing Activision games to Xbox Game Pass is already starting. Unusually, Ubisoft might be instrumental in bringing these games to PS Plus, if that happens, too. It is already saying that the next “15 years” of Activision games are coming to Ubisoft+ – which isn’t bad news for PlayStation fans.

However, if you’re more interested in the future of the franchise, you can find out more about all the Modern Warfare 3 weapons right here; new MW3 Zombies leaks claim DMZ’s pay-to-win aspects are coming to the new mode, though, and new MW3 campaign leaks reveal just how many Open Combat missions we’re going to be met with in this single-player experience. MW3 early access is on the way, but there’s a lot of older Call of Duty content to enjoy in the meantime – thanks to Microsoft and Xbox.