Battle.net Exclusivity On PC Was A “Resounding Failure” For Call Of Duty
Activision making Call of Duty a Battle.net exclusive on PC during 2018 and 2021 turned out to be a “resounding failure”, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft’s legal document presented during its trial against FTC over its acquisition of Activision Blizzard King revealed that the latter’s decision to make Call of Duty a Battle.net exclusive on PC between the period of 2018 and 2021 was a “resounding failure” and did not result in any meaningful increase of active Battle.net users.
According to Microsoft, before 2018, Activision sold digital versions of PC Call of Duty titles on Valve’s successful Steam platform. In 2018, Activision decided to take the game off of Steam and make it exclusively available on Battle.net, largely in an effort to attract users to, and grow, Activision’s own platform.
As per the software giant, Battle.net’s monthly active users (“MAUs”) remained relatively flat during the period when it had exclusive access to digital sales of Call of Duty on PC, from 2018 through 2022. Meanwhile, during that same period and without access to Call of Duty, Steam’s monthly active users grew by tens of millions of users, nearly doubling from 67 million MAUs in 2017 to 132 million MAUs in 2021.
In related news, it was revealed that judge Corley’s written ruling in the Microsoft/FTC trial over the software giant’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard had mentioned that Call of Duty is scheduled for release on a unreleased Nintendo Switch model that is currently in development.
This suggests that the next console from Nintendo may be an iterative version of the Switch rather than a full fledged successor. The ruling stated that the only apparent defects the FTC has identified with regards to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King is that, in its view, Microsoft is not omniscient and had not developed the ability to tell the future. Furthermore, it cited standard contractual provisions about “unanticipated and unforeseeable future events” and Microsoft’s commitment to making Calling of Duty available on an in-development Nintendo Switch model.