As they seek to placate legislators and regulatory bodies around the world, Microsoft has signed deals with both Nintendo and Nvidia to pledge that “full” Call of Duty games will be on their respective platforms for 10 years, should the Activision Blizzard acquisition be approved.
Making good on a previous statement of intent, Microsoft President and Vice-Chair Brad Smith tweeted that Microsoft had “negotiated and signed a binding 10-year legal agreement to bring Call of duty to Nintendo players – the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity – so they can experience Call of Duty just as Xbox and Playstation gamers enjoy Call of Duty.”
A similar 10-year deal has been signed with Nvidia for their GeForce Now cloud gaming platform, with Microsoft looking to counter the reasoning that they would use COD to win in the emerging game streaming market. With Google’s demise, the main competitors to Xbox Game Pass streaming are GeForce Now, Amazon Luna and PlayStation Now.
They claim that this would bring Call of Duty to 150 million more gamers than before.
Microsoft has repeatedly stated that they would be willing to sign similar long-term deals to ensure that the Call of Duty series remains on PlayStation, but that Sony has been unwilling to engage with them on this point, as they lobby regulators to try and block the deal. That has seemingly been quite successful so far, with the US FTC, UK CMA and European Commission all giving opinions that seem to side with PlayStation in arguments about competitiveness.
Pushing back against the suggestion that they could spin off parts of Activision Blizzard to get a deal through, Microsoft turned up to make its case to the European Commission by highlighting the dominance that PlayStation has over Xbox in most markets. Some amusing pie charts showing their console brand being outsold 80:20 in Europe by PlayStation, and that around the world the market share is roughly 70:30 – this obviously excludes Nintendo.
Honestly, with two gigantic global corporations consistently fighting to paint themselves as the underdog, at this point we’re just running around in circles and need someone to give a firm yes or no answer.