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Microsoft to release next ‘Call of Duty’ on subscription service

19-05-2024

NEW YORK: Microsoft (MSFT.O), opens new tab plans to release the coming installment of the “Call of Duty” videogame to its subscription service, in a departure from its longtime practice of only selling the title independently, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The move is expected to be announced at the company’s annual Xbox showcase, scheduled for June 9, the person said on the condition of anonymity as the plans are private.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news on Friday.

Microsoft acquired “Call of Duty” through its buyout of Activision Blizzard in a $69 billion deal, which closed late last year.

The first-person shooter video-game is among the most successful entertainment properties and has generated more than $30 billion, opens new tab in lifetime revenue.

Activision has long released new editions of the game annually priced at around $70 each in recent years.

The development comes just days after Xbox President Sarah Bond said in a conference the company plans to release all first-party Xbox games on Game Pass on the day of their launch.

Microsoft manages a subscription service called Game Pass, which offers access to games from Xbox and other developers for a fee.

The Redmond, Washington-based company has tried to build out the Netflix-style game subscription services aggressively in recent years as part of its efforts to break the dominance of PlayStation consoles made by Japanese rival Sony Corp (6758.T), opens new tab.

Microsoft said in February Game Pass had 34 million subscribers, up from the 25 million it reported in 2022.

Analysts said the launch of “Call of Duty”, a franchise with a large and loyal fan base would help draw more people to Game Pass but could affect the overall sales generated by the title.

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III”, released in November 2023, is the second-best selling game so far this year. It trails Sony’s “Helldivers II”, according to industry tracker Circana.

Another user mentioned leaked information about Microsoft releasing new subscription tiers, including one possibly supported by ads. Speculations arose about potential increases in the base subscription price with the introduction of these new tiers, raising questions about how the changes could impact players.

One detailed comment delved into Activision Blizzard’s revenue sources, highlighting the significance of micro-transactions, DLCs, and subscriptions over unit sales. The comment discussed the implications of Microsoft’s strategy, suggesting it could be a move to strengthen Game Pass and expand the user base within the Microsoft ecosystem.

The decision to release Call of Duty on a subscription service represents a strategic gamble for Microsoft. By leveraging the popularity of the franchise, the company aims to boost Game Pass and increase revenue from microtransactions. As the industry navigates shifts in player preferences and digital consumption, this move could shape the future of gaming platforms and revenue streams.

Rumors of a new PlayStation handheld console running PS4 games cause mixed reactions among gamers. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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