Microsoft has officially signed a long-term agreement with Nintendo. This means if the Activision Blizzard deal eventually closes, Call of Duty will come out on Switch.
- On February 21, Microsoft president Brad Smith made the announcement on Twitter. The binding agreement implies that Xbox games will be released on the Nintendo platform for the next 10 years.
- “This is just part of our commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms,” Smith wrote, also noting that Activision Blizzard titles will come out on Nintendo the same day as Xbox or any other platform.
- On top of that, Microsoft is also “committed to providing long term equal access to Call of Duty to other gaming platforms.”
We’ve now signed a binding 10-year contract to bring Xbox games to Nintendo’s 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
The terms of this agreement, other than its time span, remain undisclosed, but Microsoft initially announced its deal with Nintendo in December. “Once we get into the rhythm of this, our plan would be that when [a Call of Duty game] launches on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, that it would also be available on Nintendo at the same time,” Microsoft Gaming head Phil Spencer said at the time.
2004’s Call of Duty: Finest Hour was the first game in the series to appear on Nintendo platform. Several other titles also came out on Nintendo DS, Wii, and Wii U, but it has been a while since Nintendo players have enjoyed a major CoD project.
Microsoft offered a similar 10-year agreement to Sony in November, but the Japanese publisher reportedly declined. Spencer, however, repeatedly noted that Xbox wants to ship Call of Duty to PlayStation “as long as there’s a PlayStation to ship to.”
These moves signal Microsoft’s desire to show regulators its readiness to make some concessions in its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as well as its committment to not make Call of Duty exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem. The latter is one of the major concerns that antitrust watchdogs have over the deal.
The merger is yet to be approved in the UK, Europe, and the US. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority recently stated that the acquisition was dangerous to market competition, offering Microsoft to buy only a part of Activision Blizzard. The US Federal Trade Commission is now suing the company, trying to block the deal, and the European Commission will hear Microsoft’s arguments in today’s closed hearing.