“We’re not taking Call of Duty from PlayStation” is the message from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer this week. Spencer has recently been discussing the future of Call of Duty if the Activision acquisition clears, and he’s made his clearest comments yet in a new podcast interview with YouTubers Justine and Jenna Ezarik.
“As long as there’s a PlayStation out there to ship to, our intent is that we continue to ship Call of Duty on PlayStation,” says Spencer on the Same Brain podcast. “Similar to what we’ve done with Minecraft, since we’ve owned that, we’ve expanded the places people can play Minecraft. We haven’t reduced the places, and it’s been good for the Minecraft community in my opinion, and I want to do the same as we think about where Call of Duty can go.”
While there’s been a public back-and-forth over the future of Call of Duty between Sony and Microsoft, Spencer has compared Call of Duty to Minecraft twice recently. Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s tech conference last week, Spencer also hinted at plans to bring Call of Duty to the Nintendo Switch to treat the franchise like Minecraft and keep it on rival platforms.
“Call of Duty specifically will be available on PlayStation,” said Spencer. “I’d love to see it on the Switch, I’d love to see the game playable on many different screens. Our intent is to treat Call of Duty like Minecraft.”
Call of Duty fans have been debating whether Microsoft would make the game exclusive to Xbox ever since the news of Microsoft’s $68.7 billion Activision acquisition broke earlier this year. Spencer was quick to publicly say Microsoft had a “desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation,” but a written commitment to Sony wasn’t enough to prevent concerns from the PlayStation maker.
After The Verge revealed last month that Spencer made a written commitment to PlayStation head Jim Ryan earlier this year to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for “several more years” beyond the existing marketing deal Sony has with Activision, Sony labeled Microsoft’s offer “inadequate on many levels.”
Microsoft also says keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation is a “commercial imperative for the Xbox business and the economics of the transaction” in filings to the UK competition regulator. Microsoft says it would put revenue at risk if it pulled Call of Duty from PlayStation and that “Microsoft has been clear that it is counting on revenues from the distribution of Activision Blizzard games on Sony PlayStation.”