Report: Call of Duty 2024 will come to Xbox Game Pass on day one

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Microsoft has reportedly decided that, yes, Call of Duty 2024 will launch day and date into Xbox Game Pass.

This is apparently something that Microsoft’s executives have been debating for some time – per The Verge – but The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that they’ve made up their mind and will bring the next Call of Duty game straight into Game Pass when it launches later this year.

The next Call of Duty is set to be revealed at Xbox Games Showcase on 9th June, and is likely to be the game featured in the [Redacted] deep-dive stream that follows.

The hope is that this will be a major boost to Xbox Game Pass subscriber counts, across both Xbox and PC, and since COD will not be a platform exclusive for a long, long time, should preserve a lot of the overall profitability of the franchise with the majority of gamers still happy to buy the games outright on PlayStation in particular. A large portion of the money that Call of Duty makes also comes from the free-to-play Warzone game mode.

That reason means that some analysts, such as games industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, are all for it. He wrote, “This is the right move for Microsoft because it’s a multi-platform title that is being sold for $70 outside of the subscription and because it’s a live service title with in game purchases. That model can also work for other Xbox first party games.”

However, this could still be a double-edged sword for Game Pass. It likely will boost subscriber counts, but how sticky will that be to keep people subscribed? Xbox and PC gamers might see this as an opportunity to pay for a trial or single month to get a quick fix of Call of Duty, before unsubscribing a month later, ultimately cutting a big chunk of the profit from all of those gamers, and potentially undermining the Xbox Game Pass project and business model in general. Worse would be if it fails to meaningfully move the needle, with the growth of subscriber counts having levelled off in the last couple years. One possible mitigation would be to have a higher priced tier specially for COD.

Of course, this should all be taken with a grain of salt. We can expect WSJ to have trustworthy sources, but we’re also a few weeks away from the 9th June showcase and Microsoft could very easily change their minds again between now and then.

The pressure is on the Xbox division and Microsoft’s gaming business to grow and be as profitable as possible, thanks to the almost $70 billion that Microsoft paid to acquire Activision Blizzard. Since that purchase was completed, Microsoft made major redundancies, announced that they were bringing select Xbox exclusives to rival platforms, closed two beloved Bethesda studios, and is reportedly planning for more games to arrive on PS5, with nothing held back.

Source: WSJ (paywall) via Engadget

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