Microsoft yesterday had a behind-closed-doors meeting with European Commission (EC) regulators. The company was aiming to ease concerns over its planned $69bn takeover of Activision Blizzard. One way of appeasing the EC is for Microsoft to highlight its commitment to an open gaming industry. With that goal in mind, Microsoft and Nvidia have announced a new 10-year partnership.
Specifically, the deal will bring Microsoft Xbox PC games to the Nvidia GeForce Now cloud gaming platform. This means all games built or owned by Xbox Studios will be available on the rival platform. Yes, that also includes Activision Blizzard franchises such as Diablo, Candy Crush, Warcraft, and most importantly, Call of Duty.
And it also includes Microsoft's existing major franchises, most notably Minecraft. One of the major concerns about the Activision merger is that Microsoft will lock games into its ecosystem. Essentially making current cross-platform franchises like Call of Duty first-party options on Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming.
It seems Microsoft is willing to be as open as it claims. Entering a multi-year partnership with Nvidia is especially interesting because GeForce Now is a direct competitor to Xbox Cloud Gaming. Microsoft has consistently claimed there is more value/profit in keeping Call of Duty on other platforms.
“Xbox remains committed to giving people more choice and finding ways to expand how people play,” says Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer regarding the agreement. “This partnership will help grow NVIDIA's catalog of titles to include games like Call of Duty, while giving developers more ways to offer streaming games. We are excited to offer gamers more ways to play the games they love.”
The partnership with Nvidia is similar to a 10-year deal Microsoft made with Nintendo. That particular agreement will bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles for the next 10 years. Microsoft yesterday offered more details on that deal, saying it is a binding agreement between the companies.
Moreover, the company says a similar 10-year agreement is available for Sony, which has been the biggest critic of Microsoft's planned Activision Blizzard acquisition.
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