Call of Duty won't come to Game Pass for "a number of years" due to Sony deal

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022) screenshot
(Image credit: Activision)

It looks like Call of Duty won’t be coming to Game Pass for several years yet, regardless of the outcome of Microsoft’s deal to acquire developer Activision Blizzard

As part of the process of getting the deal over the line, the Xbox powerhouse is seeking approval from various national regulators. The Activision Blizzard acquisition has been given the okay in Saudi Arabia and Brazil, for example, although the United Kingdom’s competition watchdog requires more convincing. As such, the approval process has moved into a second phase, where Microsoft has been given the opportunity to address the Competition and Markets Authority’s concern that the deal could “substantially lessen competition in gaming consoles”. 

As part of that reply, Microsoft argues that pre-existing contractual obligations – like the one between PlayStation creator Sony and Activision Blizzard – would stop it from doing things like sticking several Call of Duty titles on the Game Pass subscription purchase right away. "The agreement between Activision Blizzard & Sony includes restrictions on the ability to place Call of Duty titles on Game Pass for a number of years,” the document reads. 

So there you go, even if the deal does ahead next year as expected, you likely won’t be getting Call of Duty with your Game Pass subscriptions for a hot minute. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about games being restricted from Game Pass. As reported by The Verge, Microsoft alleges in documents filed with Brazil’s national competition regulator that Sony pays for “blocking rights” that prevent developers from contributing content to Game Pass.

The news comes as Activision gears up to launch Call of Duty’s latest game, Modern Warfare 2. The developer has recently confirmed that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 won’t have Overwatch 2’s messy SMS requirements and that beta complaints, such as third-person ADS, have been fixed.

When can you play what, exactly? Here’s a breakdown of the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 campaign preload and early access time

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.