Microsoft To Inject Advertising In Free PC and Mobile Activision Blizzard Titles

Following Microsoft's announcement of plans to purchase Activision Blizzard, the tech giant also shared intentions to infuse advertising in free-to-play PC and mobile Activision Blizzard games. The process and its potential impacts remain uncertain.

A pending purchase between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard includes plans for advertising integration into the free PC and mobile titles of Activision Blizzard, with Call of Duty highlighted as an example.

In 2022, Microsoft communicated its intention to purchase Activision Blizzard for an estimated $70 billion. The deal encountered two significant obstacles; the United Kingdom's competition and market authority blocked proceedings, after which the Federal Trade Commission filed an injunction to obstruct the acquisition.

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Microsoft's Plan for Advertising in Call of Duty

However, the European Union Commission granted approval to the deal, with Microsoft securing its appeal with the CMA against the FTC to advance it. An expiry date was initially set for the merger agreement on July 18, but mutual consent led to the deadline's extension to October 18. In addition to this, Activision Blizzard stands to gain a $3 billion break-up-free if the deal is not completed. If an agreement is reached between both parties, Microsoft has an ambitious vision for advertising in Call of Duty titles.

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Adding Advertising to Call of Duty

While waiting for the agreement to be finalised, there were discussions of adding advertising to COD Mobile. This development suggests that advertising could potentially feature in Warzone as well. One reporting outlet failed to reconcile the discrepancy in its report, stating that the list only included Call of Duty: Mobile, but the text referred to both PC and Mobile.

Microsoft's investigative phase lists the introduction of 'advertising' into free-to-play PC and mobile games. At this point, only Call of Duty: Mobile is specified, but the text signals PC and Mobile platforms.

It was also revealed that Call of Duty won't be immediately available on Xbox Game Pass when the Activision Blizzard agreement is concluded. PlayStation has enjoyed exclusive marketing rights with Call of Duty since 2014, with a confirmed agreement running through at least Modern Warfare 3 in 2023.

Therefore, it's still unclear whether those advertising changes would be implemented immediately after Microsoft secures its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Our Modern Warfare 3 coverage provides more details.