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Microsoft confirms Call of Duty is heading to Xbox Game Pass

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be made available to subscribers at launch.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

May 28, 2024

2 Min Read
Teaser artwork for Black Ops 6
Image via Microsoft

It's official: the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise will be heading to Xbox Game Pass at launch.

Microsoft has confirmed that Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be available on Xbox Game Pass on "day one," ending speculation as to whether of not the series will be bundled into the subscription service.

The Verge has previously reported that Microsoft was unsure whether to toss the lucrative franchise onto Xbox Game Pass following its colossal $68.7 billion merger with Activision Blizzard.

It was claimed there were concerns about whether the revenue Call of Duty brings in would be undermined by its inclusion on Xbox Game Pass. Sources also told The Verge that Microsoft was considering increasing the price of Game Pass Ultimate—but reiterated those plans hadn't been set in stone.

Call of Duty in the wider platform landscape

Microsoft has already committed to releasing Call of Duty on rival platforms such as PlayStation following its merger with Activision Blizzard. An agreement signed by Sony, Nintendo, and others will ensure the blockbuster shooter doesn't become an Xbox exclusive for at least a decade.

Those pledges were made as part of a wider bid to appease regulators in when the merger was under scrutiny. Microsoft eventually sealed the deal with Activision Blizzard in October 2023.

Just a few months later the company laid off 1.900 workers across its video game divisions, citing a need to implement a "sustainable cost structure" that would enable it to continue growing.

Shortly after announcing those redundancies, Microsoft closed notable first-party studios Arkane Austin, Tango Gameworks, and Alpha Dog Games. In a series of leaked emails, Microsoft said those closures were "grounded in prioritizing high-impact titles and further investing in Bethesda’s portfolio of blockbuster games."

In its latest fiscal report for the third-quarter ended March 31, 2024, Microsoft noted that Xbox content and services revenue rose by 62 percent year-on-year, driven by the Activision merger. Gaming revenue increased by 51 percent over the same period, but Xbox hardware revenue fell by 31 percent due to a "lower volume" of console sales.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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