Bring Call of Duty to Nintendo Consoles: Even though Call of Duty is a massively popular franchise, it isn’t the first game that comes to mind when you think of the Nintendo Switch. For this reason, it seems odd that Microsoft would make a “10-year commitment” today to releasing Call of Duty games on Nintendo systems, beginning with the Switch.
These promises are being made not because there’s a huge demand for CoD on the Switch, but because Microsoft is currently trying to finalise a deal to acquire Activision, the company that owns Call of Duty.
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.
This acquisition is under increasing scrutiny from governments in both the United States and around the world. One major stumbling block is the Call of Duty franchise, which has been criticised by multiple nations for its potential to create an unjust monopoly in the video game industry if it is exclusive to a single platform.
#MarketNews @Microsoft (MSFT.O) has entered into a 10-year commitment to bring the gaming title #CallofDuty to #Nintendo (7974.T) platforms, the chief executive officer of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, said in a post on Twitter.👇https://t.co/ljGMNbJAEX
— Swissquote (in English) (@Swissquote) December 7, 2022
As such, last week it was reported that Microsoft is considering a 10-year contract with Sony, one of its main console competitors, to calm investor concerns. There was no mention of Nintendo or Valve’s Steam platform in those stories, so tonight’s statement is meant to drive a wedge between Sony and the other platforms (even if it was also slightly telegraphed last month).
We’re happy that Microsoft wants to continue using Steam to reach customers with Call of Duty when their Activision acquisition closes. Microsoft has been on Steam for a long time and we take it as a signal that they are happy with gamers reception to that and the work we are doing. Our job is to keep building valuable features for not only Microsoft but all Steam customers and partners.
Microsoft offered and even sent us a draft agreement for a long-term Call of Duty commitment but it wasn’t necessary for us because a) we’re not believers in requiring any partner to have an agreement that locks them to shipping games on Steam into the distant future b) Phil and the games team at Microsoft have always followed through on what they told us they would do so we trust their intentions and c) we think Microsoft has all the motivation they need to be on the platforms and devices where Call of Duty customers want to be.
Note that these promises are made only to gain favour with sceptical governments and smooth the process along. Unless the Activision acquisition goes through, Spencer will be unable to carry this out.
Published: Microsoft and Nintendo agree a deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo gaming platforms for 10 years, the Redmond, Washington-based company announces https://t.co/xCwouymIKC
— Takashi Mochizuki (@6d6f636869) December 7, 2022
But even if it does, there will be concerns, as Call of Duty producer Mark Spencer explains in an interview with the Washington Post, pledging to bring the game to the Switch is one thing, but getting it to operate on Nintendo‘s hardware is another.
Nintendo to me re: their Call of Duty/Microsoft deal: “Nintendo confirms the accuracy of the Microsoft statement. We have nothing further to announce on this topic”
I asked if they had a CoD deal already or if they’d seek one if MS’s Activision bid failshttps://t.co/OPT6kLAFHR
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) December 7, 2022
While Nintendo’s commitment sticks out for its weird fit and potential technical issues, Valve’s looks much more casual, with Gabe Newell telling Kotaku: “Our devotion to this vow is much more lighthearted.”
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. @ATVI_AB
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 7, 2022
(Even though Call of Duty has been available on Steam for quite some time, the series has just recently resumed after a five-year sabbatical behind Activision’s launcher; this is the type of limitation that has prompted several governments to raise objections to the proposed merger.)