Microsoft is doing everything it can to appease regulators and push through its expected takeover of Activision Blizzard. Over the past few weeks, the company has repeatedly said it offered Sony a 10-year deal to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation, the biggest opponent of the deal, to ease any competition concerns.
Now, says Microsoft struck a deal with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to devices like the Switch if the Activision acquisition closes. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer also said his company has reached an agreement with Valve to continue bringing Call of Duty titles to Steam if the Activision merger goes through. Both contracts are for 10 years.
“Microsoft and Nintendo are committed to bringing Call of Duty to Nintendo for 10 years following the merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King,” a Microsoft spokesperson told me in a statement. “Both Xbox and Nintendo are committed to helping bring more games to more people – however they choose to play.”
“We are pleased to confirm that Microsoft is committed to continuing to offer Call of Duty on Steam simultaneously for Xbox following our merger with Activision Blizzard King,” the spokesperson added.
The Nintendo Switch is showing its age and has trouble running newer titles. It’s unclear whether the console would effectively handle newer Call of Duty games. We’ve been hearing rumors of a Switch successor for a few years now, and Microsoft may be waiting for that to arrive before bringing Call of Duty back to Nintendo’s console. However, the company eventually plans to launch Call of Duty titles simultaneously on the Xbox, PlayStation, PC and Nintendo platforms.
“We would do it with Minecraft also where we would do specific work to make the game work well on the Nintendo Switch and their silicon and fully support their platform,” Spencer said. The Washington Post. “We do the same when we ship on PlayStation 5.”
Reducing the size of the installation can be an important part, given that the foundation Modern War II the game takes up around 151GB of storage on the PlayStation 5. However, it’s perhaps more likely that Microsoft will use its cloud gaming capabilities to offer streaming versions of Call of Duty games on the Switch. Maybe getting the Game Pass version on Switch is part of that pact.
The deal with Valve is less surprising. Activision is once again publishing Call of Duty games on Steam, and Microsoft is publishing many of its own games on the platform anyway. There wasn’t much reason to doubt that Call of Duty wouldn’t stay on Steam.
These deals could put more pressure on Sony to reach an agreement with Microsoft over Call of Duty and other games. On November 11, Microsoft said it offered Sony a 10-year contract to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. However, given Sony’s staunch opposition to the merger, it seems unlikely that it will shake hands with Microsoft on this Call of Duty deal as things stand.
The timing of the Nintendo and Valve pacts could be critical. As The New York Times The Federal Trade Commission is expected to discuss the Microsoft-Activision merger in a closed-door meeting scheduled for Thursday. Commissioners may vote at that time on whether to file a lawsuit to try to block the deal over antitrust concerns.
It was recently reported that the FTC is “likely” to file suit against the merger. Regulators are said to be concerned about the short-term and long-term impact the deal will have on the video game market. Microsoft seems to be using the Nintendo and Valve deals as a sign that it’s willing to play ball and settle any concerns before regulators have.
If the FTC and other regulators that have raised concerns about the acquisition, including those in the United Kingdom and the European Union, give the green light, Call of Duty could remain on Nintendo and Steam (and PlayStation) platforms beyond those 10-year pacts.
“It’s just about picking an expiration date, not with the goal that it ever expires, but like the legal basis of the document, it has to say that it goes through some date,” Spencer said Post. “But once we start working with the platform, as we have been working with it. Minecraftboth on PlayStation and on the Nintendo platform, our aim would be to continue to support these customers.”
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