The company said at the time that Call of Duty: Mobile had enjoyed a record year in 2021, with consumer spending “well above” $1 billion, following a surge in downloads coinciding with its release in China.
Following Microsoft’s claim that Call of Duty Mobile could be phased out after the launch of Warzone Mobile, Activision has said it will continue to support the game with major updates “for the long haul”.
But according to Microsoft, Activision’s long-term plan is to replace the game with Warzone Mobile, which is scheduled for release this year.
“CoD: Mobile was developed and is owned by TiMi Studios, a subsidiary of Tencent,” Microsoft said in a newly published response to the UK competition regulator’s investigation into its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
“CoD: Mobile is expected to be phased out over time (outside of China) with the launch of Warzone Mobile,” it added.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said Microsoft may need to divest part of Activision Blizzard or Call of Duty if the watchdog is to approve the $69 billion merger.
But Microsoft is reluctant to entertain such structural remedies given the size of the Call of Duty brand and Activision Blizzard’s mobile expertise.
“A divestment would have severe adverse effects on the development of competition because it would prevent Microsoft from achieving its key strategic objective, namely building a mobile gaming business with sufficient scale in order to challenge Google and Apple,” the Xbox maker said in its response to the CMA’s provisional findings.
“A divestment of the Activision segment would include a divestment of CoD: Mobile and CoD Warzone Mobile. An additional divestment of the Blizzard segment would also include Diablo Immortal (which is available on PC and mobile).
“These are among the most relevant mobile games published by Activision. It is these games, particularly Warzone Mobile and Diablo Immortal (rather than the King games), which would provide Microsoft with the assets, know-how and talent to develop mobile versions of its own console games.”