With Call of Duty Black Ops 6, your wallet could take a direct hit

call of duty on xbox game pass
(Image credit: Xbox)

Call of Duty fans were given reason to celebrate, and maybe a bit wary, all at once on Tuesday.

The upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 will be available on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, its computer counterpart, from day one. It's a first for the franchise.

This news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, and it was officially confirmed via a post on Microsoft's Xbox Wire blog

According to the post, "Game Pass members will be able to jump into Call of Duty®: Black Ops 6 on day one." 

Here's what that means for you: Whether you're a Game Pass Ultimate subscriber or you only subscribe to the PC- or console-specific versions of Game Pass, you'll have access to COD: Black Ops 6 as soon as it comes out.

Microsoft on Tuesday also revealed the game's first live-action trailer called "The Truth Lies" In the trailer, multiple leaders from history — including Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, George H.W. Bush, Colin Powell, and Saddam Hussein — deliver puzzling speeches over an eerie soundtrack. It's red meat for COD diehards. And even if it's not, you can guarantee it won't stop them from playing. 

For more details on the new game and a "first in-depth look at gameplay," you'll want to tune into the Xbox Games Showcase event followed directly by a Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 Direct event on June 9 at 10 a.m. Pacific. You can watch live via the Xbox YouTube channel.

Until then, all that's left for COD fans is to wonder whether Microsoft will raise the price of its Xbox Game Pass service.

How much more could Microsoft make off COD on Game Pass from Day 1? How much more could you pay on Day 100?

When the WSJ first announced Microsoft's plans to bring Call of Duty to Xbox Game Pass, that was the big question: Will this make Game Pass more expensive per month?

As we've seen from other subscription-based streaming models, it's more a question of "when" rather than "if," especially considering the franchise's incredibly popular status. In addition to price increases, recurring revenue from annual subscriptions automatically renewing could mean more COD-based revenue for Microsoft.

A Call of Duty game has been the top-selling video game of the year for more than a decade. According to the gaming site IGN, the only two titles that briefly usurped a COD game during that time were Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018 and Grand Theft Auto in 2013.

As anyone with too many subscriptions can tell you, recurring subscription revenue is rapidly expanding year over year. With online play the overwhelming way to experience COD over the long term, a subscription model makes brilliant business sense for Microsoft. Research firm Gartner projects growth of 20 percent in the software-as-a-service category in 2024, continuing a years-long trend.

The WSJ also reports that gamers need not worry that Microsoft would delay the new COD game's launch on PlayStation, PC, or even Xbox outside of Game Pass in an effort to drum up new Game Pass subscribers as possible, noting that Microsoft has pledged not to withhold the Call of Duty series. (The company hasn't said anything official about whether it'll delay the release, though.)

Launching Black Ops 6 is money-saving news for those who already pay for Game Pass or plan to pay about $10 for one month instead of $70 for an entire game. It's also good news for Microsoft, as data shows that "customers prefer and are often committed to ongoing payments, which helps reduce churn rates compared to businesses that rely on one-time transactions." 

If you plan to play the game for months (and with the game's popular multiplayer component, that's likely the case for a lot of people), the cost of Game Pass quickly adds up. With potential price hikes in the future, you might find yourself paying more than $70 in just a few short months.

In preparation for the game's release later this year, check out the best gaming laptops available now and refresh yourself by playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a game that earned 4 out of 5 stars in our review.

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