Microsoft says Nintendo will get Call of Duty if takeover goes through


Microsoft has signed a deal to bring the Call of Duty franchise, published by Activision Blizzard, to Nintendo for the first time, the company announced late Tuesday, pending approval for its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The deal guarantees that Microsoft, which is awaiting federal approval for its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, will offer the popular first-person shooter franchise on the Nintendo Switch for 10 years. It also announced a ten-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PC gaming store Steam.

The deal doesn’t specify the first year of the Call of Duty game on the Nintendo Switch. The entire portfolio will still be reviewed to see which games make it to the Switch, though Microsoft gaming CEO Phil Spencer told The Washington Post in an interview. There’s no firm date for when Call of Duty will first arrive on Switch.

“You can imagine if [the deal] Closing on that date, it may take a little time to start development work to get there, Spencer said, referring to the June 2023 date when the merger should close if it is not blocked by regulators. “Once we get into the rhythm, our plan is to [a Call of Duty game] Released on PlayStation, Xbox and PC, it will also be available on Nintendo at the same time. “

Spencer pointed to the arrival of games like Microsoft-owned Minecraft on the Switch as examples of the company’s experience bringing games to different platforms.

“We’re doing that with Minecraft as well, and we’re going to do some specific work to make the game work well on the Nintendo Switch and their chips, and fully support their platform,” Spencer said. “When we launch on PlayStation 5, we will do the same.”

When asked if the Switch had enough technical specs to run Call of Duty smoothly, Spencer said, “Minecraft and Call of Duty are different games. But from how you bring a game to Nintendo , how do you run a development team targeting multiple platforms, that’s our experience.”

Spencer said the agreement between Nintendo and Microsoft specified ten years because that period would give gamers comfort and that the two companies would likely continue to work together.

“It’s just picking an expiration date, not aiming to expire forever, but it’s like the legalese of the document has to say this goes past a certain date,” Spencer said. “But once we start using a platform, like we As with Minecraft on PlayStation and Nintendo platforms, our goal will be to continue to support these customers.”

The move comes as Microsoft awaits regulatory review by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of its proposed acquisition, which faces a major challenge from Sony, a rival maker of the PlayStation gaming console, which sees Call of Duty as potentially becoming an exclusive platform for Microsoft’s platform. Yes, it would give the company an unfair advantage in the video game market. Sony has yet to accept a deal with Microsoft to keep Call of Duty on the PlayStation for a decade. Sony declined to comment.

The announcement came shortly before December 12th. FTC closed door meeting on the 8th. While the FTC declined to comment on whether it would meet with Microsoft this week, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft plans to meet with FTC Chair Rena Khan on Wednesday to try to persuade her to approve the deal. Asked if the announcement related to the FTC meeting meant anything, Spencer replied: “The things I’ve heard and seen in the media may have been some of our intentions when we made a public commitment to Sony, our Private commitments don’t stand up or work with partners, especially Sony.”

He added that he wanted to show key industry partners like Nintendo and Valve that a deal could be reached even if Sony didn’t accept it. “Maybe there’s some halo around our words, maybe they’re not true, and when you have a company like Nintendo or a company like Valve that believes in the promise and makes a deal with Nintendo on something like this, we think that’s an important point to go into. market.”

A common question among international regulators evaluating acquisitions is whether Call of Duty, one of Activision Blizzard’s most successful franchises, will be available to PlayStation owners. Microsoft has repeatedly assured regulators that the series will remain on all current platforms — which currently include Xbox, PlayStation, and PC — and has said it would be financially imprudent to stop publishing for PlayStation.

Activision Blizzard and Nintendo did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Activision Blizzard has been informed of the agreement, and Spencer said they are in the planning stages.

Cat Zakrzewski and Jonathan Lee contributed to this report.

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