Xbox will bring Call of Duty to Nintendo in 10-year deal if Activision buyout approved

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Microsoft has committed to bringing Call of Duty to Nintendo’s platforms in the even that their acquisition of Activision Blizzard King is approved by regulators around the world, pledging to do so for at least 10 years. Additionally, they have reaffirmed their plan to keep Call of Duty on Steam for PC gamers.

The announcement, made by Xbox boss Phil Spencer on Twitter, reads:

“Microsoft has entered into a 10-year commitment to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo following the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King. Microsoft is committed to helping bring more games to more people – however they choose to play.

“I’m also pleased to confirm that Microsoft has committed to continue to offer Call of Duty on Steam simultaneously to Xbox after we have closed the merger with Activision Blizzard King.”

Quite what having Call of Duty on Nintendo consoles would look like isn’t clear. We’ve seen plenty of “impossible” ports to the Nintendo Switch over the years, but it feels unlikely that 2023’s COD could end up running natively on Switch. Other options might be to allow access via cloud streaming, which has been used for Hitman 3 and others, or to initially port across Call of Duty Mobile and wait for the next Nintendo console to allow for fewer compromises.

If and when this does come to fruition, it will be the first time that Call of Duty has been on a Nintendo console since Ghosts in 2013. It will also be the first time COD has been on a handheld console since the frankly rubbish Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified for PS Vita.

This, of course, is if the acquisition is allowed to go ahead. This is the latest move by the company to appease and assure regulators of their intention to keep Call of Duty available on multiple platforms. It follows similar statements related to keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation.

Sony has repeatedly argued that Microsoft’s statements have not gone far enough, that Call of Duty could be made platform exclusive, and that the Activision Blizzard purchase would harm their competitive standing – in particular their ability to have platform exclusive content in Warzone, and to offer COD as part of PlayStation Plus (not that this is happening under the current Activision leadership).

It’s not hard to see that Microsoft has found a direct way to undercut those arguments without directly talking about PlayStation at all. They can now point to these commitments to show that they’ll actually broaden the game’s audience, not narrow it, and that this can only be seen as good for competition and variety in the market place.

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