Call of Duty: Warzone 2 will be released as a standalone sequel next year on Xbox Series X, PC, and PS5, despite Microsoft’s planned acquisition of series publisher Activision Blizzard.
That’s according to a recent report from Bloomberg (opens in new tab), which claims that at least the next three games in the Call of Duty franchise will be distributed on PlayStation platforms. Those games are expected to be Modern Warfare 2, due to release later this year, another game from Black Ops Cold War developer Treyarch, which is planned for 2023, and Warzone 2.
Following the announcement of Microsoft’s agreed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, many suspected that Microsoft would quickly make future Call of Duty titles exclusive to its Xbox consoles.
Xbox boss Phill Spencer addressed the issue, suggesting (opens in new tab) that upcoming titles would still release on PlayStation to abide by “existing agreements” made between Activision Blizzard and Sony.
Beyond these next three Call of Duty releases, however, the future of the series is unclear.
Sony’s contractual agreements with Activision Blizzard will reportedly wrap up by the time the acquisition is finalized by the middle of next year. If Microsoft chooses to deprive Sony of future Call of Duty games, Warzone 2 could be the final game of the series to release on PlayStation.
Analysis: multiplatform for now, but it won’t last
Both Sony and Microsoft made clear last week that the next few Call of Duty games won’t be Xbox exclusives. In its first public response to the acquisition deal, Sony said it “expect[s] that Microsoft will abide by contractual agreements and continue to ensure Activision games are multiplatform,” while Spencer said he didn’t want to “pull communities away” from PlayStation.
That means PlayStation fans can rest easy for now, but the future may not be so bright. Once those contractual agreements have run their course, it would be prudent to expect future Call of Duty titles to move to Xbox, and only Xbox. Microsoft will be keen to deprive Sony of one of gaming’s best-selling franchises, so it can claim all Call of Duty sales revenue for itself and place its platform above Sony’s.
That exclusivity could be rolled out partially over time. Call of Duty games may release on both platforms, with specific content – such as DLC, game modes, and maps – reserved for Xbox, similar to the exclusive content that PlayStation has enjoyed for the past several years. Or, Microsoft may be willing to take the immediate sales hit and make every ounce of Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox all at once, much like it’s doing for Starfield.
As for Warzone 2, there are no details on what the game will look like, but we can be pretty certain of a few features. First of all, it would be more than a little surprising if it wasn’t free to play. Warzone launched in the free-to-play model, which has quickly become the standard for the genre. Even PUBG Battlegrounds recently went free-to-play, and saw tremendous growth in its player base because of it.
Other than that, the fact that the game is described as a standalone sequel suggests it will bear little content connection to its predecessor, so don’t expect to carry over any of your skins or unlocks to this next game.
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