It sounds like there could be many different ways Call of Duty is distributed if Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard goes through. While Valve doesn’t feel the need for any long-term promises, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Sony.
In a show of support for Microsoft, Gabe Newell (the CEO of Valve) said the company didn’t need to make a long-term COD offer to Steam. As Newell puts it, an offer “wasn’t necessary” because Microsoft “always followed through” on its promises.
“Microsoft has been on Steam for a long time, and we take it as a signal that they are happy with gamers’ reception to that and the work we are doing. Our job is to keep building valuable features for not only Microsoft but all Steam customers and partners,” Newell said. “Microsoft offered and even sent us a draft agreement for a long-term Call of Duty commitment but it wasn’t necessary for us because a) we’re not believers in requiring any partner to have an agreement that locks them to shipping games on Steam into the distant future b) Phil and the games team at Microsoft have always followed through on what they told us they would do so we trust their intentions and c) we think Microsoft has all the motivation they need to be on the platforms and devices where Call of Duty customers want to be.”
A few days later, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft made an interesting proposal to its rival company, Sony. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft reportedly offered Sony the right to sell the game on its PlayStation Plus subscription service.
That offer came down before the Federal Trade Commission launched a lawsuit against Microsoft attempting to block its acquisition of Activision-Blizzard. Depending on how that lawsuit plays out, it’s possible that these promises could be invalid. However, if the acquisition does get approved, then you can expect Sony and Valve to still have access to the COD series.