EA CEO thinks Xbox exclusive Call of Duty could benefit Battlefield

Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson thinks Call of Duty potentially becoming a Microsoft-exclusive franchise could benefit Battlefield.

As Axios’ Stephen Totilo reported, Wilson called the Call of Duty platform questions “a tremendous opportunity.”

“[I]In a world where there are questions about the future of Call of Duty and what platforms it might and might not be on, being platform independent and completely cross-platform with Battlefield, I think that’s tremendous opportunity,” Wilson told a Goldman Sachs conference last week.

What Wilson is referring to here could be several things. As a cross-platform franchise, Battlefield has the advantage of being great player on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. If the Battlefield franchise was exclusive to a single platform or ecosystem, it would negatively impact the number of players who have access to the game.

He could also talk about potential marketing deals. While Microsoft had the lion’s share of Call of Duty marketing deals and exclusive timed content back in the Xbox 360 era, the tide has managed to turn around and now Sony is working closely with the franchise on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. This year’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare II has many exclusive goodies for PlayStation owners, including first access to the game’s beta and an operator named Hiro “Oni” Watanabe.

If the Call of Duty franchise were to become exclusive to Microsoft platforms, it only makes sense that Sony would close in on 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 also done marketing deals for the Battlefield franchise in the past, including Battlefield V.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is still pending approval and is being scrutinized by some regulators, such as in the UK, due to anti-competitive concerns over potential exclusivity from franchises like Call of Duty. 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 just three years “insufficient”.

George Yang is a freelance writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @yinyangfooey

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