Microsoft claim Activision threatened to pull CoD from Xbox prior to takeover deal

Nathan Warby
Activision Blizzard logo on Xbox background

During Microsoft’s trial against the FTC to defend their proposed takeover of Activision Blizzard, an Xbox executive has revealed that Call of Duty could have been missing on Xbox Series X/S after CEO Bobby Kotic demanded a higher revenue split.

Microsoft shook the gaming world back in 2022 when they announced a proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Since then, the deal has hit a number of stumbling blocks, as the takeover was blocked by the UK government and the United States FTC have moved to do the same.

One of the major talking points since the almost $70 billion takeover was the future of Call of Duty, one of the biggest franchises in gaming and Activision Blizzard’s most prized asset. If Microsoft do take over the publisher, both fans and Sony itself have shared concerns over CoD’s future on PlayStation.

However, on the first day of Microsoft’s trial against the FTC, it was revealed that Activision CEO, Bobby Kotick, was actually willing to pull Call of Duty from Xbox a couple of years prior in an attempt to bump the revenue share in his company’s favor.

According to a report from IGN, Xbox Vice President, Sarah Bond, told the court that Kotic had said: “If we did not move beyond standard revenue share that he intended to not place Call of Duty on Xbox.”

This alleged demand from Kotick came in 2021 and would have meant that both CoD: Vanguard and Modern Warfare 2 wouldn’t have arrived on Xbox Series X/S.

Bond went on to say that Xbox eventually agreed to the higher revenue split, as they didn’t want to disappoint players who were expecting to play the latest CoD titles on Series X/S.

She said: “Time was limited. We had players whose expectations we wanted to meet, so we ultimately made a decision that it was the best thing for the business.”

CharlieIntel understands that the current revenue share between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is 80/20, higher than the 70/30 that is standard across the industry.

Only time will tell if Microsost’s long-awaited takeover will go through and the ramifications it will have for the CoD series. They’ve already revealed their intention to put Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass, despite strong objections from Sony.