In October, Microsoft officially acquired Activision Blizzard for $69 billion dollars, 20 months after its initial announcement. The process was long and arduous and faced a lot of pushback from regulators which resulted in a court case with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but the company is already beginning to put its latest acquisition to good use.
If you boot up your Xbox console today (November 3) you’ll immediately be presented with a full-screen advertisement for the upcoming Call of Duty game. The obvious marketing push on the homepage could be the result of Microsoft taking full advantage of its recent acquisition – despite the game and series remaining a multi-platform release – but nevertheless, some players aren’t too happy about the full-screen campaign (via IGN).
“I don’t play Call of Duty; I never bought Call of Duty. I shouldn’t turn on my Xbox and the literal first thing I see be add [sic] for a game, or anything for that matter,” said one user.
The ad reads, “Fight against the ultimate threat,” and features a prompt to buy the game ahead of its official release, as well as an option to buy the Vault Edition upgrade. There is an ‘Exit’ prompt, but that hasn’t stopped players from calling out Microsoft, with some users on Reddit calling the move “vomit inducing” and “unacceptable” (via Eurogamer).
Microsoft pulled a similar marketing stunt ahead of the release of Bethesda’s Starfield, an Xbox and PC exclusive title, as well as Forza Motorsport; some users have even joked that the company will eventually use the same scheme to advertise Candy Crush.
In other news, following the acquisition, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer promised to treat Activision Blizzard franchises with “the respect that they deserve.”