For the past few years, Sony has had a marketing arrangement with Activision which has seen PlayStation prioritised by the publisher, resulting in perks for Call of Duty players on PS5 and PS4. This followed on from the deal that Microsoft introduced during the Xbox 360 era, which would see map packs release first on the Redmond firm’s machine. Now, with its proposed $69 billion buyout of the brand, it’s eager to eradicate the practice.
It should be noted that said “perks” have been getting increasingly meaningless as Call of Duty has gradually embraced crossplay and phased out playerbase separating practices, like map packs. For example, PS5 and PS4 owners got access to the Modern Warfare 2 beta six days before other platforms, and can now enjoy mindblowing benefits like 25% Weapon XP bonuses when playing together in parties, as well as an additional two loadout slots.
However, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says that if his company is allowed to get its hands on Call of Duty, this practice will end. “That’s not the game we’re trying to play here either,” he promised. “It’s not about a skin on a gun. It’s not about a certain kind of mode of the game. The same version of the game will be available on all platforms, which is really what we do today.” He went on to cite Minecraft as an example, which is identical across all consoles and platforms.
To be fair, Sony is also offering identical experiences with its multiformat releases: MLB The Show 23 doesn’t have any advantages on PS5 and PS4, despite being developed by first-party developer San Diego Studio – and Destiny 2: Lightfall launched on Xbox and PC this week, without any compromise either.
We’ve been commenting on how pointless the Call of Duty perks have been getting for some time, so we doubt this will be a huge loss to PlayStation fans should the deal clear. The bigger blow to Sony will be in its inability to associate PS5 and PS4 with the franchise in commercials, which has clearly been fruitful for the firm over the past several years.