Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty franchise looks stronger than ever following the release of its newest installment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, in October.
Available on PC and consoles, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II had the top-selling opening in franchise history by topping $800 million in sales in its first three days of release, becoming the highest-grossing entertainment opening of 2022.
On Monday, Activision Blizzard announced that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II has already sold more than $1 billion worldwide just 10 days from release, establishing the record for the fastest Call of Duty game to reach that milestone.
This news comes amidst a dispute between PlayStation’s Sony and Xbox’s Microsoft, with the former lodging complaints against the Bill Gates-founded company's intent to acquire Activision Blizzard, claiming it could potentially allow Microsoft to launch Call of Duty exclusively on Xbox.
In January, the tech giant announced an agreement to acquire Call of Duty’s publisher in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, but the deal still needed approval from regulatory agencies. UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating the merger following Sony’s claims.
Last September, the CMA released a statement citing concerns over Microsoft “having full control over [Activision Blizzard’s] powerful catalogue,” highlighting its “already strong position in gaming consoles, operating systems, and cloud infrastructure.”
CMA claims the deal “could result in Microsoft harming consumers by impairing Sony’s — Microsoft’s closest gaming rival — ability to compete.”
Microsoft has since replied to CMA, stating that the agency adopted “Sony’s complaints without the appropriate level of critical review”.
Microsoft also added that “Sony is not vulnerable to a hypothetical foreclosure strategy, and the Referral Decision incorrectly relies on self-serving statements by Sony which significantly exaggerate the importance of Call of Duty to it.”
It should be noted that, according to GamesIndustry, 57% of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II’s sales were on PlayStation formats, with Xbox platforms only getting around 33% of the pie. PC rounded the equation by taking the other 11% of sales.
With Call of Duty performing at this level on Sony’s consoles, it seems unlikely that Microsoft would want to remove the game from PlayStation platforms, while it also shows why Sony is so keen to stop the merger and any possibility of Call of Duty becoming an Xbox exclusive.