Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson thinks that Call of Duty potentially becoming a Microsoft exclusive franchise could benefit Battlefield.
As reported by Axios's Stephen Totilo, Wilson called questions about Call of Duty's platform "a tremendous opportunity."
“[I]n a world where there are questions as to the future of Call of Duty and what platforms that it might be on and might not be on, being platform-agnostic and completely cross-platform with Battlefield I think is a tremendous opportunity," Wilson said at a Goldman Sachs conference last week.
QUOTE: "I don’t think we delivered in the last two iterations of that in the way that we should have."
– EA CEO Andrew Wilson on Battlefield
From a Goldman Sachs conf last week. Full quote below
ALSO: Wilson doesn't seem to mind CoD-Xbox exclusivity confusion. Could help EA! pic.twitter.com/bVtcB6wi6k
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) September 19, 2022
What Wilson is referring to here could be several things. As a multiplatform franchise, Battlefield has the advantage of having a large player across PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. If the Battlefield franchise was exclusive to a single platform or ecosystem, then that would negatively impact the number of players that have access to the game.
He could also be talking about potential marketing deals. While Microsoft had the lion's share of Call of Duty marketing deals and exclusive timed content during the Xbox 360 era, the situation managed to flip and now Sony works closely with the franchise on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. This year’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare II has plenty of exclusive bonuses for PlayStation owners, including first access to the game’s beta and an operator named Hiro “Oni” Watanabe.
If the Call of Duty franchise was to become exclusive to Microsoft platforms, then it makes sense that Sony would have to approach the second biggest first-person shooter franchise, Battlefield. This could provide EA with substantial leverage to negotiate marketing deals with PlayStation. It’s worth noting that Microsoft has had marketing deals for the Battlefield franchise in the past too, including Battlefield V.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is still in the process of being approved and is being scrutinized by some regulators, such as in the UK, due to anti-competition concerns in potentially making franchises like Call of Duty exclusive. PlayStation and CEO Jim Ryan are well aware of these implications and have called Microsoft’s offer to extend Call of Duty’s availability on PlayStation by only three years “inadequate.”
George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @yinyangfooey