Microsoft completes binding 10-year Call of Duty deal with Nintendo
Call of Duty will come to Nintendo consoles for the next 10 years, if Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal is approved
Nintendo and Microsoft have negotiated a legally binding agreement to bring future Call of Duty titles to Nintendo consoles, should Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard be approved by regulators.
Microsoft President Brad Smith announced the tie-up on Twitter, in a statement that promised Call of Duty games will arrive on Nintendo systems “the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity”, so Nintendo players “can experience Call of Duty just as Xbox and PlayStation gamers enjoy Call of Duty”.
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Call of Duty on Nintendo
😮 Microsoft will bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles for the next decade
💪 Call of Duty games on Nintendo will have the same features and content
🕴 Microsoft is trying to shore up support for its Activision Blizzard deal
✔ The deal will first need to be approved by market regulators
A Call of Duty game hasn’t been released on Nintendo consoles for the past 10 years. The last installment of the mammoth franchise to arrive on a Nintendo system was 2013’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, which was released on the much-maligned Wii U.
Elsewhere in his tweet, Smith referred to bringing “Xbox games to Nintendo’s gamers” and said this agreement was part of Microsoft and Nintendo’s “commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms”.
However, it’s unclear whether this agreement does extend to other series outside of Call of Duty, such as Diablo, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, and the remaining Activision Blizzard franchises Microsoft will get if the deal passes.
In discussions surrounding the buyout and in market regulator queries, much attention has been paid to the future exclusivity of Call of Duty. As one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world, it’s feared it could hand Microsoft a big competitive advantage over its rivals, should it be made available only on Xbox systems.
Microsoft has repeatedly dismissed these worries, promising not to remove the series from PlayStation platforms. It first voiced its intention of bringing back Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles last year, which has now been confirmed in this legal agreement.
How exactly future Call of Duty titles will land on Nintendo systems is something of a mystery. The hardware of the Nintendo Switch is not as advanced as that of the Xbox Series X|S and PS5, and would struggle to run the series’ latest installment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. New games may only be able to run on Nintendo platforms after intense graphical downgrades or via Xbox Cloud Gaming.
It’s also unclear whether the games will release for the same price on Nintendo consoles as other systems. Nintendo has been more reserved in its pricing than Sony and Microsoft, with the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom the first Nintendo Switch game to cost $70 – the same price for which Modern Warfare 2 is sold.
Microsoft will likely be hoping to use the announcement to court market regulators to demonstrate it’s serious about keeping Call of Duty a multiplatform game. The company has its work cut out for it, though, with the FTC already suing to block the deal and the UK regulator similarly concerned.
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