Nintendo Switch fans who also love Activision’s military shooters, rejoice: Call of Duty could be coming to your device soon. At last, that’s according to Microsoft, who’ve announced a “legally binding” deal that will bring “Xbox game to Nintendo’s gamers.”
The announcement was made public on Twitter by Microsoft vice chair and president, Brad Smith. “This is part of our commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms,” Smith wrote.
The 10-year agreement will see Call of Duty titles – and, presumably, other Activision offerings – launched across Microsoft and Nintendo’s platforms simultaneously, “with full feature and content parity”. Given the huge difference in processing power between Microsoft’s consoles and the Switch, those games will presumably lean heavily on Switch Cloud Streaming to ensure that parity.
News of the deal has emerged at a crucial moment for Microsoft, as the firm tries to push through its $68.7 (£50.5 bn) billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Following its announcement on 18 January 2022, the Microsoft-Acti deal has caused some consternation among regulators, not least in the EU, with such bodies as the European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority arguing that Microsoft’s rivals, such as Nintendo and PlayStation, would be unable to compete against such a huge entity.
The Call of Duty franchise has previously been cited by regulators as a particular concern, with the argument being that its popularity could be used by Microsoft to lure gamers away from, say, PlayStation Plus and over to Game Pass.
Deals such as the one made between Microsoft and Nintendo are intended to assuage regulators’ concerns; back in December 2022, Microsoft announced a similar 10-year deal with Sony, ensuring that Call of Duty titles would appear on PlayStation platforms until the 2030s.
Time will tell whether regulators are convinced. Later on Tuesday, 21 February, Microsoft is due to defend its bid in front of EU officials. Microsoft has said it’s “confident” it can address regulators’ concerns, according to Politico and VGC; Reuters, meanwhile, describes the hearing as “a last ditch effort.”