Call of Duty Is Reportedly Coming To Xbox Game Pass On Launch

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Key Takeaways

  • The next Call of Duty game will reportedly be available on Xbox Game Pass.
  • The strategy is a major reversal.
  • Regulators were worried the series would give Microsoft an unfair cloud gaming advantage.

The next Call of Duty title will be available on Xbox Game Pass the day it’s released, according to The Wall Street Journal‘s sources.

Microsoft is said to be making the announcement at the Xbox Games Showcase on June 9th. The company has not-so-subtly teased a Call of Duty-focused stream immediately following the main event.

The company declined to comment.

If the report is accurate, the strategy behind the move would be clear. Call of Duty remains one of the world’s most popular game franchises, and putting it on Xbox Game Pass could drive subscriptions as well as overall adoption of Series S and X consoles. Microsoft has already used day-one Game Pass availability to spur demand, such as for Halo Infinite and Starfield.

Before its merger with Microsoft, Activision Blizzard shied away from bringing Call of Duty to subscription gaming services. The publisher stood to make considerably more money from sales than monthly fees. Former CEO Bobby Kotick was concerned the all-you-can-play offerings would create the same suffering Netflix and Amazon Prime Video allegedly inflicted on movies and TV shows.

The possibility of Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass played a key role in regulators’ objections to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Officials were concerned Microsoft would either drop support for rival platforms or favor its own at the expense of everyone else.

To clinch the deal, Microsoft made commitments to keep the series on Sony and Nintendo consoles for 10 years, and has brought its titles to other cloud gaming services. It’s not certain if Call of Duty will still get same-day launches on competing consoles, or that other cloud services will have the first-person shooter.

However, what’s arguably the cornerstone of Microsoft’s strategy is bearing fruit — you may get one of this year’s blockbuster games just by having a membership, and you might get to stream it to your phone or tablet.