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Activision Blizzard demanded special treatment to keep Call of Duty on Xbox

In trial over merger, Xbox VP Sarah Bond testifies that Bobby Kotick threatened to withhold shooter from Microsoft unless publisher received a more favorable revenue share

Xbox VP Sarah Bond has testified that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick threatened to keep Call of Duty off Xbox platforms unless Microsoft gave the publisher a more favorable revenue share, as reported by IGN.

"Time was limited," Bond said in explaining why Microsoft agreed to Kotick's terms. "We had players whose expectations we wanted to meet, so we ultimately made a decision that it was the best thing for the business."

Bond's testimony came during the first day of a hearing over the Federal Trade Commission's objection to Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Call of Duty exclusivity has been a sticking point for some regulators, and Bond's testimony came under questioning from the FTC about whether Call of Duty would be considered a must-have game for a console maker.

Elsewhere in the day's testimony, Bethesda's Pete Hines confirmed that the company's Xbox-exclusive Indiana Jones game was originally planned to be a multiplatform title, and an email from Sony's Jim Ryan had the exec dismissing the idea that Microsoft would make Call of Duty exclusive, saying he believed the deal was "not an Xbox exclusivity play at all" and that Microsoft was "thinking bigger than that."

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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