A well-known leaker claims that the Call of Duty series could ditch Xbox Game Pass as part of Microsoft's major strategic shift.
The Call of Duty series may not arrive on Xbox Game Pass! This is what a well-known Microsoft leaker claims. The addition of the hit shooter franchise to Game Pass has previously been cited as one of the biggest consumer benefits from Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
After completing the $68.7 billion deal in October, Microsoft was inundated with questions from fans about when exactly it plans to index its newest subsidiary to the subscription service.
Shortly after, Activision Blizzard announced that its games would start arriving on Game Pass sometime in 2024.
Could Call of Duty stay away as part of Microsoft's move into third-party publishing?
Although we expected that the Call of Duty series wouldn't be in the first wave, it now looks like the hit series will eventually skip the subscription service entirely. This is what famous Microsoft leaker Timdog claims. And on a recent episode of the Gamers Council podcast, he said he “heard” that Call of Duty won't be coming to Xbox Game Pass.
Insiders sarcastically described the move as one of Microsoft's “brilliant ideas” as part of the company's rumored shift toward third-party publishing in response to declining Xbox console sales.
The strategic shift, which Microsoft has not yet announced, is rumored to mean that many of its current and upcoming titles are becoming cross-platform. Among other things, several insiders have reported that Starfield will arrive on PS5 sometime in 2024. (See our recent article on this topic!) The PlayStation release date is still unclear. But Microsoft is reportedly aiming for Bethesda's latest title to appear on Sony's console around the time the Shattered Space expansion arrives on PC and Xbox Series X/S. Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is also said to be considering a multi-platform release.
Xbox Game Pass is said to be profitable, but not sustainable
As for the alleged decision to shut down Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass, Timdog says the rumored move is part of Microsoft's response to the realization that its subscription service isn't sustainable in its current form. According to the latest analyst estimates, Game Pass could reach 33.3 million subscribers by December 2023, six and a half years after its debut.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer was recently quoted as saying that the subscription service is profitable but requires a $1 billion annual content investment.
Timdog expects the company to announce the move to a cross-platform release at the upcoming Xbox Games Showcase. The latter is said to be full of new titles. It is not clear when exactly this event is planned. But the announcement could come before that. At least that's what Phil Spencer's X post yesterday suggests. (See our article linked above.) According to Microsoft's previous official disclosures, Call of Duty is expected to arrive on Xbox Game Pass in 2025.