Call of Duty Going Straight to Game Pass, Exec Says

Xbox president Sarah Bond is making minor waves by implying that Call of Duty’s 2024 version may go straight into Game Pass. The news breaks following  an interview with Bloomberg where Bond suggested that Microsoft would take this dive.

There’s a bit to unpack here, so let’s get into it.

The narrative has been building every since The Verge ran a report last week that Microsoft is considering placing Black Ops, which is the new COD, on Game Pass. And worse more, Microsoft may increase the price of Game Pass.

There’s a lot of bitter news being trojan horse’d into the Black Ops news, apparently.

Why is this an even bigger deal beyond pricing?

Some industry analysts and developers worry that subscription services like Game Pass might devalue games. And gamers may get used to accessing games through a vast library for a monthly fee instead of choosing games on a more selective bases which amplifies their popularity. Think of Netflix and TV shows. TV shows have a much tougher time collecting widespread praise and popularity.

Equally, There are also concerns about how developers are compensated when their games are included on Game Pass. No one seems to know how much Microsoft pays developers, though.

Game Pass is growing leaps and bounds, leading many to worry that Microsoft is gaining excessive control over the market. This dominance could influence game development priorities and marketing, possibly disadvantaging competitors who do not have a similar offering.

Call of Duty is a big ticket item that could help further exacerbate all of these issues.

But the big question is will Microsoft risk Call of Duty sales to promote it’s Game Pass? Activision Blizzard costs near $70 billion which has placed tremendous pressure on Microsoft. They need winners.

“We know our core users love Game Pass,” Bond said. “Game Pass is a gaming subscription. You get a whole portfolio of games, but importantly, you get every single one of our games that we build day-one in Game Pass, and the quality and the breadth of those games has only been going up over time. You’re going to see some more really big games going into Game Pass later this year.

Bond was then asked if this included Activision games. “Across the whole slate,” Bond replied. “You’re going to see some really amazing things. And keeping that as something that is really special for Xbox players is central for us.”