By Mariella Moon
Microsoft vows to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo and to continue making it available on the latter’s consoles for 10 years if its Activision Blizzard acquisition pushes through. Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming’s CEO, has announced the company’s commitment on Twitter, adding that “Microsoft is committed to helping bring more games to more people — however they choose to play.” Spencer previously said during an interview that the company intends to treat Call of Duty like Minecraft that’s available across platforms and that he would “love to see [the game]” on the Switch. A 10-year commitment potentially means that the franchise will also be released for the current Switch’s successors.
In addition, Spencer has announced on Twitter that Microsoft will continue to offer CoD on Steam, alongside the Xbox, after the deal is closed. As The New York Times says, this announcement could be a move to appease the Federal Trade Commission and to get regulators on their side. The publication says the FTC is expected to discuss the acquisition in a closed-door meeting on Thursday, where the agency will decide whether to take steps to block the deal.
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
A recent report by Politico claimed that Microsoft failed to convince the FTC staff reviewing the acquisition with its arguments and that the commission will likely file an antitrust lawsuit to block it as soon as this month. The FTC is reportedly concerned the purchase would give Microsoft an unfair advantage and that it would reduce competition in the market.
In an opinion piece written for The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft President Brad Smith defended the acquisition and argued that it’s good for gamers. FTC suing to block the deal “would be a huge mistake,” he said, and would hurt competition in the industry instead. Smith also said that Microsoft offered Sony, the loudest dissenting voice to the merger, a 10-year contract ensuring all new CoD releases would be available on the PlayStation the same day they go out for the Xbox. “We’re open to providing the same commitment to other platforms and making it legally enforceable by regulators in the US, UK and European Union,” he wrote. Whether these efforts are enough to assure regulators that the purchase wouldn’t be detrimental to the industry remains to be seen.