How Sony won Call of Duty DLC exclusivity away from Microsoft

All Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 map packs will launch first on PlayStation; here's some behind-the-scenes details about the deal.

GameSpot staff
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GameSpot staff
2 min read

For years now, all Call of Duty DLC has launched first on Xbox platforms. But that's changing this fall with Call of Duty: Black Ops III thanks to Activision electing to partner with Sony instead of Microsoft.

It's a big change for one of the biggest franchises in gaming. To dive deeper into the subject, we spoke with Adam Boyes, the PlayStation VP of Publisher and Developer Relations.

As you might expect, Boyes shied away from discussing specifics about the business terms of the deal, but he did offer some general insight into how the partnership came to be and what it means.

"Well, I think the first thing was we've had a great relationship with Activision around Destiny," Boyes said. "And I'm a huge fan of that."

Sony's partnership with Activision for Destiny has been a deep one, with PlayStation fans getting all manner of Destiny content before Xbox players. Sony has even said that it is treating Destiny like a first-party game in some ways.

Boyes went on to say that Activision invited Boyes and his team on a trip to see Black Ops III in person. It didn't take long for Sony to be convinced that this was a game worth getting involved with.

"We fell in love instantly," Boyes said about Black Ops III, going on to describe the game as "transformative" for its various new features.


"As soon as I started playing it, I said, 'This feels incredible! You can wallride!' It's just so smooth; it's almost like poetic. And so obviously, we just continued talking with our partners at Activision and worked something out. And now we've got I think a great benefit to all the gamers."

Not only will all Black Ops III DLC launch first on PlayStation platforms, but the game's multiplayer beta will also premiere on PlayStation before coming to Xbox and PC.

Sony's exclusivity deals with Destiny and now Call of Duty may not be the last. Earlier this year, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House said these kinds of third-party exclusivity arrangements are central to Sony's business strategy going forward.

For more on Black Ops III, check out GameSpot's hands-on impressions from E3 via the links below.