Microsoft seems to have concluded a long standing debate on whether to release its popular CoD franchises directly on Xbox Game Pass or not. WSJ reports that the tech behemoth is reportedly set to add the next installment of the iconic Call of Duty franchise directly to its Xbox Game Pass service on the day of the game’s launch.

The decision to bring Call of Duty to Game Pass wasn’t made without internal debate within Microsoft. Traditionally, Call of Duty titles have been cash cows for Activision. Consistently ranking among the top-selling games of the year, these games typically retail for around $70, generating substantial profits from individual sales. However, Microsoft has also been striving to expand its Xbox Game Pass subscriber base. While adding Call of Duty to Game Pass might lead to lower individual game sales, Microsoft calculates that the influx of new subscribers could potentially offset those losses in the long run.

More details about Microsoft’s overall Call of Duty strategy, including the fate of past titles and potential pricing adjustments for Game Pass, are expected to be revealed during the upcoming Xbox Games Showcase in June. This event will be followed by a dedicated Call of Duty presentation.

Speaking of the Xbox Game Pass, it offers subscribers access to a vast library of games for a monthly fee. Despite the extensive catalog and the inclusion of high-profile titles, Game Pass has struggled to achieve the rapid subscriber growth that Microsoft had hoped for. As of February, Game Pass had 34 million subscribers, a modest increase from the 25 million reported in 2022. By including a blockbuster title like Call of Duty on day one, Microsoft aims to significantly boost these numbers and solidify Game Pass’s position in the market, and it remains to be seen whether the company’s move is successful or not.

Several factors are likely driving Microsoft’s decision. For one, adding a major franchise like Call of Duty to Game Pass is a significant draw for potential subscribers. Players who might not typically subscribe to Game Pass might be incentivized to join the service for access to the latest Call of Duty title. For another, Microsoft is likely counting on continued revenue generation through in-game purchases within Call of Duty, a strategy employed by many subscription-based games. Players may still spend money on additional content, cosmetics, or season passes within the game itself. Additionally, Microsoft has confirmed that Call of Duty will still be available for purchase on other platforms, such as PlayStation and Nintendo consoles. Last but not the least, there’s the possibility of a Game Pass price hike to compensate for potential declines in individual game sales.

While the addition of Call of Duty to Game Pass is a major announcement, some questions remain unanswered. Firstly, it’s unclear whether Microsoft plans to add past Call of Duty titles to the service or if this is a strategy reserved for future releases. Including a wider library of Call of Duty games on Game Pass could further incentivize players to subscribe, but the impact on past game sales would need careful consideration. Secondly, the success of this approach likely hinges on the performance of the upcoming Call of Duty title.