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Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 continues Xbox's bet on Activision boost for Game Pass

Update: Microsoft confirms this year's Call of Duty won't be locked behind a new premium tier in its subscription service

Original story, May 29, 2024: Microsoft has confirmed this year's Call of Duty will launch on Xbox Game Pass alongside its retail and digital versions.

An Xbox Wire post added that players will be able to pre-install Black Ops 6 when it launches later this year. The game will be officially revealed during the Xbox Games Showcase on June 9, which runs during Summer Game Fest.

Reports earlier this month suggested the new Call of Duty would be added day-and-date to Game Pass, with The Verge's Tom Warren reporting yesterday that the subscription service's app let slip the confirmation ahead of the official announcement.

Microsoft is gradually bringing Activision titles to Game Pass following the completion of its acquisition last year, banking on the publisher's portfolio to boost the subscription service.

The first such launch was Diablo 4 in March, with the platform holder's latest financials revealing it was played for ten million hours within the first ten days, making it one of the biggest first-party launches for Game Pass since the service launched in 2017.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be the first Activison Blizzard title to launch day-and-date on Game Pass, a practice Microsoft has implemented with all of its internally developed titles since the subscription began.

Opinion is divided on the impact the inclusion of Call of Duty in Game Pass will have on developers. Speaking to shortly after the Activision acquisition, The Last Worker director Jörg Tittel argued that having access to the shooter would dissuade subscribers from trying out indie games, while No More Robots founder Mike Rose suggested it may boost the exposure of indie games included in the service.

While the acquisition was being scrutinised by regulators, there were concerns that Microsoft would not only launch Call of Duty simultaneously on Game Pass but also withhold it from other platforms in order to grow the subscription service.

However, Microsoft has made a binding agreement with Sony to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for the next ten years, with a similar agreement in place for Nintendo.

Update, May 31, 2025: Microsoft has confirmed to Eurogamer that this year's Call of Duty will launch on all Xbox Game Pass' tiers, and won't be locked behind a new premium tier.

"Upon launch, Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be playable on Xbox and PC for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, PC Game Pass, and Xbox Game Pass for Console members," a spokesperson said.

Additional contribution by Marie Dealessandri

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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Call of Duty: Black Ops 6

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