Microsoft is feeling the hurt from regulators over its push to acquire Activision Blizzard. The FTC in the US has taken the company to court, the CMA in the UK has raised concerns, and in the EU, regulators are currently investigating the deal. So, Microsoft will hope the 10-year agreement it has confirmed to make Call of Duty available to Nintendo players will help.
You may remember that Microsoft's gaming head Phil Spencer announced in December that Microsoft and Nintendo were coming to an agreement. Now, Microsoft president Brad Smith is offering more details about the deal.
It is widely thought Microsoft made the agreement to appease regulators. Since announcing its $69bn takeover of Activision Blizzard, the company has received pushback. Sony has questioned the deal because it will bring major franchises such as Call of Duty, Diablo, Candy Crush, and Warcraft under Microsoft's control.
But it is really Call of Duty that is Sony's main concern. The company freely admits that Microsoft making the franchise exclusive to Game Pass and Xbox would harm its PlayStation console. In fact, Sony has described Call of Duty as irreplaceable.
Regulators in the US, UK, and EU have wider concerns about Microsoft stifling competition by taking control of Activision. In response, Microsoft has argued that it is not the market leader in the gaming sector and it is willing to make concessions to get the deal approved. One of those concessions is the agreement with Nintendo.
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
Smith points out that the deal with Nintendo is binding, which means Microsoft must commit to it for the full 10 years. He also says the company wants to keep major franchises like Call of Duty available across platforms:
“We are committed to providing long term equal access to Call of Duty to other gaming platforms.”
Smith also reiterates that the same deal it made with Nintendo is on the table for Sony. At the moment, it is unclear which Call of Duty games will come to Nintendo consoles. It is unclear how well the Switch would handle new CoD games as Nintendo is not usually a platform these titles appear on.
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