Activision refused to work on Call of Duty for Xbox in order to secure new revenue deal, court hears

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A character in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Credit: Activision and Xbox.

Having originally kicked off in January 2022, Microsoft's ongoing attempts to acquire Activision Blizzard feel like they’ve been rumbling on forever.

Since the company behind Xbox announced its plans to bring the publisher of titles ranging from Call of Duty, to Overwatch and Warcraft on board for $68.7 billion, it’s been grappling with legislators around the world to gain permission to close that deal.

Currently, the company is facing scrutiny from the American Federal Trade Commission in court, following the issuing of a restraining order which temporarily blocks any deal from going through, with the proceedings having just revealed an interesting detail regarding the relationship between Microsoft and Activision.

Activision refused to work on Call of Duty for Xbox in order to secure new a revenue deal, a court has heard

As reported by The Verge, the opening hearing of the case, which is set to rumble on over the next four days and will determine whether a preliminary injunction request from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be granted, featured some very newsworthy testimony.

One such series of statements came from Xbox Corporate Vice President Sarah Bond, who revealed that, in order to secure a new revenue share deal with Microsoft, which would be closer to the one it had with PlayStation at the time, Activision refused to commence work on the dev kit work necessary to bring Call of Duty to the Xbox Series S and X consoles.

Bond suggested that, had a new deal not been reached, the situation could have seen Call of Duty games arrive on current-gen Xbox consoles later than PlayStation’s PS5, which Bond said “would not have been good.”

The Xbox executive's testimony also revealed that Microsoft wasn’t able to feature Call of Duty in one of its showcases, as a result of declining to bid on marketing deals related to the series.

The other major talking point to come out of the day’s proceedings concerned an email exchange, during which PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan wrote that he didn’t believe Microsoft’s primary motivation behind putting together the deal was to make more games exclusive to Xbox consoles.

As proceedings continue, it’s important to remember that July 18, 2023, the date that would see Microsoft and Activision Blizzard forced to enter proceedings to renegotiate the terms of the deal in order to extend the deadline for it going through, is fast approaching.


If the preliminary injunction is granted, the FTC will be able to bring about a separate legal challenge to the deal, currently timetabled for August 2, before it closes.

Regardless of what you think of this titanic legal tussle, make sure to check out our coverage of the game series it affects, including our array of guides to the latest developments in Warzone and Modern Warfare 2, with Season 4 having recently kicked off in the latter.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Gaming News , Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 , Call of Duty: Warzone 2 , Xbox , and PlayStation pages.