Microsoft continues to expand its reach beyond its own Xbox console and Nintendo expands its selection of third-party titles. According to a tweet by Microsoft President Brad Smith on Tuesday, the tech giant has locked in a 10-year agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo device owners “the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity.”
Until now, Call of Duty has been primarily associated with Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation consoles, with occasional releases on PC and mobile platforms. However, with this new partnership, the franchise will now be available on Nintendo Switch, the popular hybrid console that can be played both on a TV and on the go. This development is long overdue, given that Microsoft had earlier announced a 10-year commitment had been struck with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles. That was back in December 2022, and now, the deal has been signed and evolved into a binding legal agreement.
“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,” read Smith’s tweet, adding that they were “committed” to providing long-term access to the popular video game franchise on multiple gaming platforms, bring “more choice to more players, and more competition to the gaming market.”
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 partnership is also a significant shift in the gaming industry, as it signals a move away from platform exclusivity. Traditionally, console manufacturers have locked in major franchises as exclusives to their platform to lure gamers to their ecosystem. However, with the rise of cloud gaming and streaming services, exclusivity is becoming less relevant, and publishers are increasingly willing to release their games on multiple platforms.
This move is a win-win for both companies, as Microsoft gains access to a new market through Nintendo’s massive player base, while Nintendo can offer its fans a blockbuster franchise that was previously unavailable on its platform.
It is interesting to see Microsoft speak on competition in the gaming sector, given that its own bid to acquire Activision Blizzard – the company behind Call of Duty – has sparked fears of harming competition. The Federal Trust Commission, in December 2023 – said that once Microsoft’s deal to acquire Activision Blizzard was sealed, the tech titan would be in a position to manipulate Activision’s pricing, degrade its game quality or player experience on rival consoles, or even withhold content to other consoles.
In fact, it is this $69 billion bid that has placed Microsoft in a bind in multiple markets – the US, the UK, and the EU. This development seems to be part of the tech behemoth’s efforts to convince the antitrust regulators of the EU that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard will not be harmful to competition. Smith will lead a delegation of 18 senior executives, including Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, to a closed hearing on the matter, while Activision will be represented by its CEO Robert Kotick. The hearing will also witness the participation of representatives from Google, Nvidia, Valve, Electronic Arts, the European Games Developer Federation, and others.
“I think we will make clear that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will bring more games to more people on more devices and platforms than ever before,” Smith told reporters ahead of the hearing.