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Bethesda exec was “confused” over double standard for multi-console Call of Duty

<em>Starfield</em> is the astronaut marooned on the Xbox planet, gazing longingly at Call of Duty exploring the rest of the PlayStation galaxy. Look,don't think too hard about it...

Enlarge / Starfield is the astronaut marooned on the Xbox planet, gazing longingly at Call of Duty exploring the rest of the PlayStation galaxy. Look,don’t think too hard about it… (credit: Bethesda)

Amid the ongoing regulatory and legal hurdles Microsoft has faced in its proposed $69 billion purchase of Activision, much has been made of the difference between Microsoft’s promise to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation and the company’s moves to bar Bethesda games like Starfield from Sony’s platform. That contrast was large enough, in fact, that a prominent Bethesda executive was bewildered by it in a private email to fellow Bethesda employees last year.

The February 2022 email, which was revealed as part of the Federal Trade Commission trial seeking to block the Activision deal (as noted by Axios’ Steven Totilo), shows Bethesda Senior VP of Global Marketing and Communication Pete Hines perplexed by Microsoft’s public comments at the time regarding keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles going forward. “I’m confused,” Hines writes. “Is [this Call of Duty policy] not the opposite of what we were just asked (told) to do with our own titles? What’s the difference?”

“I understand that there is likely nuance here, but at its core it’s being read as the opposite of what happened with us,” Hines said in a separate email to Microsoft Xbox Chief Phil Spencer the same day.

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