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Microsoft and Nintendo officially sign contract to make Call of Duty accessible

Xbox producer makes a move ahead of regulator decisions
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Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft, has announced that the company has now signed a deal with Nintendo that contractually binds the Xbox manufacturer to provide access to Call of Duty and other games to Nintendo’s consoles on equal terms for the next ten years.

“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”, Smith stated on Twitter.

This move is part of Microsoft’s strategy to calm down market regulation authorities over its proposed $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard. Regulators in the US, UK, and EU have so far been skeptical about the deal, citing major concerns about the competitiveness of the market should the acquisition go through as planned.

The UK’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) has suggested that parts of Activision Blizzard be sold off to make the deal possible.

The EU has invited Microsoft to a hearing in Brussels, which is scheduled for today, February 21, 2023, where the company may defend the takeover and offer remedies to address the red flags the regulators raised in their statement of objections.

Announcing the signing of the deal with Nintendo on this day is surely an attempt at showing EU regulators some concrete and sincere action on Microsoft’s part. The company has also stated numerous times that it had offered Sony, the biggest opponent of the takeover, the same deal as Nintendo. Sony, however, has so far not accepted.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick accused Sony of trying to sabotage the acquisition, while Xbox boss Jim Ryan said that Sony was trying to mislead EU regulators about Microsoft’s intentions.

Microsoft’s deal with Nintendo runs over ten years and the announcement states that Call of Duty will be brought to Nintendo’s platforms “the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity” – conditions that are currently not given, since Sony and PlayStation get several exclusive bonuses when it comes to Call of Duty.

Aside from the politicking, this opens up another big question: How can this be done practically? The Nintendo Switch is the least powerful console on the market, making it very difficult to come through with the promise given in the contract – though we don’t have the detailed wording, of course. Could that be a hint that a Nintendo Switch successor isn’t that far away after all?