Microsoft has announced that it has completed a 10-year deal to release Call of Duty on Nintendo platforms “on the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity”.
The move hinges, of course, on Microsoft’s precarious $68.7 billion deal to acquire Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard.
This is not the first time we have heard of such an agreement. Indeed, Xbox boss Phil Spencer first hinted at a 10-year “engagement” with Nintendo for Call of Duty back in December. Microsoft also tried to offer the same decade-long deal to PlayStation in an attempt to assuage its concerns about Xbox ownership Activision Blizzard – but with little success.
But today’s announcement is well-timed ahead of Microsoft’s day in court trying to make its case for the deal with the EU’s European Commission, one of the three major regulators currently blocking its passage.
This morning, Microsoft president Brad Smith announced the contract with Nintendo in a tweet that initially seemed to suggest a much broader deal – “to bring Xbox games to Nintendo gamers” as part of the company’s “commitment to bring games Xbox and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms.”
However, an accompanying statement from Microsoft only mentioned Call of Duty by name.
We have now signed a binding 10-year contract to bring Xbox games to Nintendo gamers. This is just part of our commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms. pic.twitter.com/JmO0hzw1BO
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) February 21, 2023
There’s no word on exactly when this deal might start, or the Nintendo hardware Microsoft is referring to. If Activision Blizzard’s deal is agreed upon later this year, the earliest we’ll likely see the deal kick in would be 2024 – when the current Switch is expected to have been replaced.
Microsoft will meet with the EU today in a closed-door meeting in Brussels, where it is reportedly expected to offer further remedies to European regulators to assuage anti-competitive concerns.
A final decision on the deal from the EU is then expected in April.