Xbox corporate vice president Sarah Bond has claimed that Activision Blizzard demanded Microsoft provide a larger revenue share to put new Call of Duty games on the platform, according to a new report from IGN.
This news comes from yesterday’s court trial between Xbox (and Activision Blizzard) and the Federal Trade Commission over Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Bond claimed in court that, in the leadup to the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S generation of hardware in 2020, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said his company did not intend to put Call of Duty – presumably new, upcoming ones – on the Xbox platform unless Microsoft shared more revenue.
“Time was limited,” Bond said in court, according to IGN. “We had players whose expectations we wanted to meet, so we ultimately made a decision that it was the best thing for the business.”
Elsewhere during Bond’s appearance in court, she said an agreement stands today that prevents Call of Duty from appearing on Xbox Game Pass before 2025. She also revealed more about marketing agreements between Xbox and Activision Blizzard.
“A year ago, we wanted to show that Call of Duty Vanguard was launching on Xbox, we were told we could not say it on YouTube or any other place where customers who were not our own customers could see it, and we had to hold for a period of time,” she said, noting that marketing it on Xbox’s website and social media accounts was acceptable. “But when we film a showcase, that is people can watch it live on YouTube and other places […] and at the end, we wanted to put up a slate that said, ‘Here are all the games coming in the next year.’ We were told we could not say Call of Duty was coming in the next year.”
IGN’s report covers a lot more from Bond’s time in court yesterday so head there for even more details.
For more about this court case, read about how we learned yesterday that Bethesda’s Indiana Jones game was originally a multiplatform game but will now release exclusively on Xbox and PC.