Microsoft says Nintendo will acquire Call of Duty if the acquisition is approved


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 Tuesday night, pending approval of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The deal guarantees that Microsoft, which is awaiting federal approval of its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, will make the popular first-person shooter series available on Nintendo Switch for 10 years. It also announced a ten-year deal to keep Call of Duty on the Steam PC game store.

The deal does not specify the first year that the Call of Duty title will be available on Nintendo Switch. The new Call of Duty version will likely be the first to hit the Nintendo Switch, though Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer told The Washington Post in an interview that the entire portfolio still has to be looked at to see which titles make it to the Switch. There’s no set date yet for when Call of Duty will first arrive on Switch.

“You can imagine if [the deal] If it hadn’t been blocked by regulators, Spencer said, referring to the June 2023 date when the merger would have to close. “Once we get into the rhythm of this, our plan is then [a Call of Duty game] It launched on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, and will also be available on Nintendo at the same time. “

Spencer pointed to Microsoft-owned titles like “Minecraft” making their way to the Switch as examples of how the company is experienced in bringing games to different platforms.

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“We’ll do that with Minecraft as well, where we’ll do specific work to get the game to run well on their Nintendo Switch and their silicon and fully support their platform,” Spencer said. “We do the same when we ship on PlayStation 5.”

When asked if the Switch has enough tech specs to run Call of Duty smoothly, Spencer said, “Minecraft and Call of Duty are two different games. But from how you get games on Nintendo, how you run a development team targeting multiple platforms, that’s an experience.” we’ve got “.

Spencer said that the agreement between Nintendo and Microsoft specifies ten years, because that length of time would be comfortable for players, and it is likely that the two companies will continue to work together.

“It’s just about choosing an expiration date, not with the goal of expiration at all, but just like, the legal code of the document has to say this goes through some date,” Spencer said. “But once we start working with a platform, just as we did with Minecraft, whether on PlayStation or on the Nintendo platform, our goal will be to continue to support those customers.”

The move comes as Microsoft awaits regulatory scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission over a proposed acquisition, which has faced a major challenge from Sony, the PlayStation console rival that believes the potential for Call of Duty to become exclusive to Microsoft platforms would give the company. An unfair advantage in the video game market. Sony did not accept a deal with Microsoft that would keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for ten years. Sony declined to comment.

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The announcement comes shortly before the closed meeting of the Federal Trade Commission on December 8th. While the FTC declined to comment on whether it will meet with Microsoft this week, Bloomberg reported Microsoft plans to meet with FTC Chairman Lena Khan on Wednesday to persuade her to agree to the deal. When asked if there was any significance of the upcoming announcement in relation to the FTC meeting, Spencer replied, “The things you’ve heard and seen written in the press may be an intent on our part when we make public commitments to Sony. Private commitments are indefensible or they don’t.” It works with partners, or for Sony specifically.”

He added that he wanted to show key industry partners like Nintendo and Valve that agreements can be reached, even if Sony won’t accept. “Maybe some halo is put around our possibly unoriginal words, when you have a company like Nintendo or a company like Valve that believes in commitment and you come to an agreement with Nintendo on something like that, we think it’s an important point in the market.”

A common line of inquiry among international regulators assessing the acquisition was whether Call of Duty, one of Activision Blizzard’s most successful franchises, would become unavailable to PlayStation users. Microsoft has repeatedly assured regulators that the series will remain on all existing platforms — which currently includes Xbox, PlayStation, and PC — and said it would be financially unwise to stop publishing on PlayStation.

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

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Activision Blizzard was informed of the agreement, and Spencer said they were in the planning stage.

Kat Zakrzewski and Jonathan Lee contributed to this report.

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