In a strategic move set to shake up the gaming industry, Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass is gearing up to host the latest installment of the blockbuster “Call of Duty” franchise, a source familiar with the matter revealed ahead of the company’s annual video-game showcase.

The decision underscores Microsoft’s bold bet on its subscription service, which has amassed a formidable 34 million subscribers as of February, despite facing stiff competition from Sony’s PlayStation consoles. By including “Call of Duty” on Game Pass, Microsoft aims to inject fresh momentum into its gaming ecosystem while providing added value to subscribers.

Joost Van Dreunen, a lecturer at NYU’s Stern School of Business, commented, “It creates a lot of momentum for Game Pass as a subscription service,” highlighting the strategic advantage in a soft gaming market.

Xbox President Sarah Bond’s earlier announcement that all first-party Xbox games would be available on Game Pass from launch day, coupled with the inclusion of “big games” across various franchises, sets a promising trajectory for the service. Analysts speculate that Microsoft could eventually integrate the entire “Call of Duty” series into Game Pass, a move likely to materialise in the coming years.

The addition of the iconic franchise not only bolsters Game Pass but also fuels adoption of Xbox’s cloud gaming service, enabling seamless gameplay across devices. Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, noted, “If you just want to play on your television and you never bother to buy a console or you don’t have a good PC, but you have a TV and a fast internet connection, Game Pass is actually quite attractive.”

Looking ahead, industry experts foresee Microsoft introducing a more affordable, ad-based subscription tier for Game Pass, mirroring the model popularised by streaming giant Netflix. This move aims to democratise access to gaming, particularly among lower-income households, further expanding the service’s reach and impact.

As Microsoft continues to innovate and expand its gaming offerings, the inclusion of “Call of Duty” on Game Pass marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of subscription-based gaming, promising a new era of accessibility and value for gamers worldwide.