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'Call of Duty' leads packed Xbox video game lineup

Microsoft's video game team says 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 6' will be available on Xbox Game Pass as well as Xbox console play when it is released in October (KEVORK DJANSEZIAN)
Microsoft's video game team says 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 6' will be available on Xbox Game Pass as well as Xbox console play when it is released in October (KEVORK DJANSEZIAN)

Microsoft's Xbox team on Sunday showcased action-packed coming video games and a new digital-only version of its console to launch by the end of this year.

Hundreds of thousands of fans who tuned into the streamed event got a look at titles, including an eagerly-awaited "Call of Duty: Black Ops 6" set for release on October 25.

The latest installment to the blockbuster first-person military shooter video game franchise is set in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union where "the truth isn't what it seems," Xbox gaming boss Phil Spencer said after giving the first glimpse of a campaign in the title.

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Spencer highlighted that the new "Call of Duty" and many other games will be available from launch day on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

He noted that more than 100 million people play Call of Duty monthly, and added that Xbox is looking to boost those ranks with Game Pass cloud play availability of "Black Ops 6" out of the gate.

Xbox also showed off a "Gears of War: E-Day" addition to that stalwart military shooter title and a "Indiana Jones and the Great Circle" game coming later this year that pits a Harrison Ford-style character against Nazi enemies.

Xbox also showed new installments of "Doom", "Dragon Age", and a "Life is Strange" sequel promising a supernatural murder mystery to solve.

The video game titan also teased expansion packs for popular games including "World of Warcraft" as well as fresh "Fallout" content that will include a playable ghoul character in a nod to the hit Amazon Prime television series based on the franchise from Bethesda Studio, now owned by Xbox.

"It's our mission to make Xbox the best place for you to play by including the titles from our own studios and Game Pass at launch," Xbox president Sarah Bond said as she unveiled new Xbox consoles including a digital-only model to be released later this year.

She contended that Xbox is working on future hardware with a goal of "empowering you to play your games anywhere you want on Xbox consoles, personal computers, and cloud."

Pricing for the new Xbox consoles was not disclosed.

The streamed showcase is part of a week of presentations from game makers taking the place of E3, a long-running videogame trade show that ended a 20-year run in 2023.

Microsoft early this year shook up the video game world with word it is making some once-exclusive Xbox video games available for play on rival consoles.

"Over the next five or 10 years, games that are exclusive to one piece of hardware are going to be a smaller and smaller part of the game industry," Spencer said in a podcast at the time.

But Xbox is not changing its "fundamental exclusive strategy," with "no promise" of more games to follow, he said.

Microsoft is keen to boost Xbox sales that have lagged those of Sony PlayStation consoles, and to ramp up revenue from subscriptions to its cloud gaming service.

By putting its weight behind software and subscriptions, Xbox could be trying to match the success of TV streaming giant Netflix.

Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo have long competed to be the console of choice, with exclusive blockbuster titles from their own studios or in deals with other game makers.

gc/mdl