Microsoft agrees 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo

The uncertain nature of Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty) has caused a lot of tension between the tech giant and its competitors. Most importantly, Sony is worried that Microsoft will soon be able to take major Activision franchises away from PlayStation, which could cause Sony to lose a lot of money on hardware. As antitrust watchdogs around the world look into the deal, Google, Apple, and other big players have been asked for their thoughts on it.

But we haven’t heard much about one company: Nintendo. Nintendo has been in the background for a long time, but now is its time to shine. Microsoft has reportedly signed a deal that will bring Call of Duty, which is one of Activision’s most popular franchises, to Nintendo. This is a way for Microsoft to avoid more scrutiny from regulators.

Microsoft agrees 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo

Late Tuesday night, Xbox boss Phil Spencer posted the news on Twitter. “After Microsoft and Activision Blizzard joined forces, Microsoft made a 10-year promise to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo,” he wrote. “Microsoft wants to help more people play more games, no matter how they like to play.”

Spencer also said that Microsoft and Valve signed a similar deal, which will keep Call of Duty on Steam for another ten years. The deal makes sure that PC gamers will still be able to play the series on their preferred device. A large, unofficial Twitter poll found that about a quarter of Call of Duty players are PC gamers.

This means that it’s in Microsoft’s best interest to keep the game on PC.

Microsoft agrees 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo
(Image: Activision Blizzard)

Both of these contracts are a surprise move by Microsoft. Since the Wii, you haven’t been able to play Call of Duty on a Nintendo console. Before this week, it seemed impossible that any part of the franchise would ever be playable on the Nintendo Switch. Even though Microsoft makes PCs and PC operating systems, it could have ignored Steam and kept newly bought franchises on its own online store, the Microsoft Store.

Last week, Microsoft was supposed to offer the same 10-year Call of Duty deal to Sony, which is by far its biggest disputer. This was done because the European Union was likely to have problems with the deal at the beginning of next year.

“There’s been some question about whether what we’re saying is actually how we’re acting, and I think having two major industry partners kind of show that our intent is real and that we can reach agreements is an important thing in this time,” Spencer told the New York Times in an interview published alongside the announcement.

But Microsoft says it has tried to make a similar deal with Sony before and failed. If that’s true, it seems unlikely that Microsoft and Sony will ever agree on how long major Activision franchises will stay on PlayStation before Microsoft buys Sony. If anything, the fact that the game will always be available on Nintendo and Steam should put pressure on Sony to (grudgingly) stop opposing the merger.

As for the deal between Microsoft and Nintendo, it is still unclear when Call of Duty will be available on the Switch. If the Microsoft acquisition of Activision goes through at all, it is expected to happen in the summer of 2023. After that, it will be up to the developers to get the franchise ready for a whole new set of consoles.

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