For years now, Sony has paid Activision for a Call of Duty exclusivity deal that sees PlayStation owners get special treatment in regards to the popular shooter series. That deal ends in 2024, according to Microsoft president Brad Smith.
Speaking to CNBC (via Insider-Gaming), Smith said Microsoft is offering Sony a 10-year “legally binding” agreement for the Call of Duty series, the terms of which are better–he believes–than the arrangement Sony currently has with Activision Blizzard.
“So when we bring out a new version of Call of Duty on Xbox, it will be available on Sony PlayStation on the same day, on the same terms, with the same features. It really ensures parity. I think everybody who has looked at this would say it’s a better deal for Sony than the one they have right now with Activision Blizzard that will expire next year,” Smith said.
If that is true, then 2024’s Call of Duty game could be the last under the existing deal between PlayStation and Activision. 2023’s Call of Duty game is reportedly codenamed Jupiter and 2024’s may be codenamed Cerberus.
PlayStation owners have been getting special treatment for the Call of Duty series for years in the form of early access to multiplayer betas, exclusive in-game content, and more. The fee that PlayStation pays to Activision for this, and other terms, is unknown.
It’s possible that Smith intentionally mentioned that PlayStation’s Call of Duty deal is ending in 2024 as part of a bargaining tactic of some kind amid Microsoft’s push to appease regulators and acquire Activision Blizzard. It’s also possible that Smith is wrong or misinformed about the duration of PlayStation’s Call of Duty deal. GameSpot has contacted PlayStation in an attempt to get more details.
For what it’s worth, Microsoft once held the Call of Duty content exclusivity rights and gave Xbox owners preferential treatment. 2015’s Black Ops III marked the shift from Microsoft to Sony for Call of Duty exclusivity rights.
In other news, Microsoft and Nintendo agreed to a 10-year Call of Duty this week, while Microsoft also committed to bringing Call of Duty to GeForce Now.
Smith, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, Jim Ryan from PlayStation, and other higher-ups are meeting with regulators in Brussels this week to make their cases as to why Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision Blizzard should, or should not, go through. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.