Activision CEO Bobby Kotick took the witness stand during today's portion of the Microsoft FTC trial. Kotick shot down questions about making Call of Duty exclusive, admitted he wasn't impressed with Nintendo Switch prototypes before the system launched, and revealed a release window for Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile. Here's everything you need to know from Kotick's time in court today.
Kotick Doesn't Want to Make Call of Duty Exclusive
Call of Duty was obviously the big focus of Kotick's testimony and cross examination, and when the Activision CEO was asked if he's ever thought about making Call of Duty exclusive to one platform, he said "No."
“You would alienate over 100 million monthly active players," Kotick said. "Half of them play on phones, but the rest of them play on computer and PlayStation, and you would have a revolt if you were to remove the game from more than one platform.
“Gamers are very passionate… And so with that kind of investment, time, and effort, you get an enthusiastic, passionate group of people.”
Kotick said it would be "very detrimental to our business” to take Call of Duty off PlayStation.
Kotick Admits He Was Unimpressed with Nintendo Switch Prototypes… And He Was Wrong
Kotick admitted that when he first saw prototypes for Nintendo Switch, he didn't think it was going to be popular. He also admitted that he was wrong, given that the Switch has now sold well over 100 million units. Kotick said it was a mistake to not put Call of Duty on the current Nintendo Switch, and he briefly spoke about how Activision will approach future Nintendo consoles.
“We would consider it once we had the specs, but we don’t have any present [plans].”
Based on Kotick's comments, it seems Activision will heavily consider bringing Call of Duty back to Nintendo consoles "once we get the detailed specifications" of the next console. "It's probably something we'll consider," he added.
PlayStation Would Be Fine if the Acquisition Goes Through, Kotick Says
Kotick said Sony has an "enormous competitive advantage" in its ability to develop new IP, and he cited The Last of Us as an example of taking a video game IP and turning it into a successful multimedia franchise.
If the transaction goes through, Kotick expressed confidence that Sony would remain competitive, saying Sony has some of the best game developers in the world.
“Sony is the most successful consumer electronics company of all time," Kotick said. "They have distribution in every country, every small town, everywhere in the world.”
Degrading a PlayStation Version of Call of Duty Doesn't Make Sense, Kotick Says
The FTC continues to argue that Activision and Microsoft could ship a PlayStation version of Call of Duty that doesn't live up to the quality of the Xbox version. Kotick argued that Activision's developers wouldn't do that, saying the vitriol that would follow from gamers — and ensuing damage to the company — would be well deserved. Kotick also said that developers take pride in their work and want to make good games. Kotick has never heard of developers making a subpar game for one platform compared to another.
Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile Is Coming This Fall
Early on in his testimony, Kotick revealed that Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile is coming this Fall. Previously, we only knew the mobile version of Warzone was slated for sometime this year. Warzone Mobile is in development in-house at Activision.
For the latest on the Microsoft FTC trial, read about the revealed budgets for AAA Sony titles like The Last of Us Part 2, how Microsoft considered buying Square Enix, and check out our full recap of the trial so far.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over seven years of experience in the gaming industry with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.