Microsoft Signs 10-Year Agreement With Nintendo, to Supporting Call of Duty Parity

Microsoft has signed a “binding” 10-year contract with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to its hardware at parity with Xbox, with parity across its features and content. This deal comes as Microsoft is working to solidify approval from regulators, including the UK regulators, per its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition.

The saga of Microsoft’s attempted deal to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion USD (roughly $94 billion CAD) acquisition continues. As the publisher aims to appease regulators, Microsoft’s president Brad Smith confirms that the company has negotiated and signed a legal agreement spanning the next decade in the event the acquisition goes through.

The agreement, as Smith reveals, covers Call of Duty’s intended future on Nintendo’s hardware. Smith’s tweet states that the two companies have negotiated terms ensuring Call of Duty launches on “the same day as Xbox, with full features and content parity.” The message continues by stating Microsoft is “committed to providing long term equal access to Call of Duty to other platforms.”

This has been a long point of contention that regulations including the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the FTC in the U.S. Both have made it a point to argue that Microsoft’s attempted acquisition puts them at a competitive advantage over other major publishers in the market, including PlayStation. The Sony brand has gone out of its way to argue that Microsoft’s ownership of Call of Duty could be leveraged to block players from playing future installments of the franchise on PlayStation 5 and beyond.

However, Microsoft has previously iterated that long-term deals, ensuring Call of Duty persists on competitive hardware are on the table. Late last year, Microsoft approached Nintendo, Valve, and even Sony with a similar deal, ensuring the blockbuster franchise will indeed have a future across their respective consoles and platforms.

It is still unclear when this agreement will take effect if Microsoft’s acquisition is successful. The company aims to sit down with EU regulators soon to appeal any pushbacks that have been raised. If the acquisition is successful, it stands to reason that parity of Call of Duty may come to fruition by 2024.

Today, leaders of Xbox, PlayStation, Activision, Google, and other major companies are set to speak to EU regulators on the matter.