That’s according to Xbox corporate vice president Sarah Bond, who was giving evidence on Thursday during Microsoft’s court battle against the US Federal Trade Commission, which is seeking to block the company’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
In the run-up to the Xbox Series X/S launch in 2020, Bond claimed Activision boss Kotick demanded an improvement on the industry’s dominant revenue split model, which sees platform holders take a 30% cut of software sales on their consoles, with the remaining 70% going to the publishers.
With Activision refusing to start using Microsoft‘s next-gen development kits until a deal was struck, and Microsoft fearful of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War being released for PS5 but not for Xbox Series X/S, the platform holder accepted Activision’s demands.
“It was clear that Call of Duty would be on PS5 and that would not have been good if it was not also on Xbox if it was launching at the same time,” Bond said (transcribed by TweakTown).
“It was clear if we did not move beyond the standard rev share, he would not place Call of Duty on Xbox.”
The FTC reportedly slipped up during questioning by mentioning an 80-20 revenue split, suggesting that is the deal Microsoft and Activision agreed on.
Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) recently said it would withhold details about its next console from Activision if the Call of Duty maker is acquired by Microsoft.
During a deposition in April, SIE boss Jim Ryan told the FTC that the company’s past collaboration with Activision led to the development of better features on PlayStation consoles that helped the hardware stand out from the competition.
But were Activision to be purchased by Microsoft, that partnership would be lost, according to Ryan.
“We simply could not run the risk of a company that was owned by a direct competitor having access to that information,” he told the regulator.
Sony is a major opponent of the planned merger, and the FTC is due to call Ryan as a court witness on Friday to support its case against the deal.