Microsoft signs 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms

After "committing" to the arrangement last year, Microsoft has finally made it "binding"

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Microsoft has announced that it has signed a 10-year deal with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty games to the Japanese company’s platforms.

On Twitter, Microsoft president Brad Smith said this is a “binding” agreement that will see Call of Duty games come to Nintendo on the same day as Xbox, “with full feature and content parity.” Given that this is a 10-year deal and we’re nearing the end of the Switch’s life cycle, this would, presumably, primarily apply to the console-handheld hybrid’s yet-to-be-revealed successor.

In December, Microsoft said it had committed to a 10-year deal with Nintendo, but the February 21st announcement means that it’s now legally binding. Microsoft is making this deal in an effort to help get its pending acquisition of Call of Duty Activision Blizzard approved in the EU.

Regulators have been investigating the purchase out of concerns that such a move would be anti-competitive. PlayStation, in particular, argues that Microsoft’s ownership of Call of Duty would present the company with an unfair advantage in the market. To counter these claims, Microsoft has said it’s “committed” to bringing Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard games to platforms like PlayStation. It should also be noted that a similar 10-year agreement has been offered to Sony, although the company has not yet agreed to the deal.

As it stands, it’s unclear if and when the Activision Blizzard acquisition may be approved, although Microsoft is hoping it will close by July. Last month, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer reiterated his confidence that the deal will be approved.

Update: 24/02/2023 at 1:14pm ET — Microsoft president Brad Smith has deleted and reposted his tweet announcing the company’s 10-year deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms. Previously, he had mentioned that “this is just part of our commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms,” which left the door open for more titles than just Call of Duty.

Now, however, Smith’s new statement exclusively refers to Call of Duty, removing any language to suggest any other games. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Microsoft won’t make a deal for other Xbox and/or Activision Blizzard titles down the line, but for now, it clearly only wants to focus on Call of Duty. 

“We want the record to be clear and address any misunderstandings,” he said in a caption to the tweet. “I’m delighted to repost below this statement and affirm Microsoft’s strong commitment to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo’s customers if our acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved by regulators.”

Below is his full, amended statement:

Microsoft and Nintendo have now negotiated and signed a binding 10-year legal agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo players – the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity – so they can experience Call of Duty just as Xbox and PlayStation gamers enjoy Call of Duty. We are committed to providing long-term equal access to Call of Duty to other gaming platforms, bringing more choice to more players and more competition to the gaming market.

Therefore, we’ve removed the mention of “Xbox games and Activision titles” from the original story.

Image credit: Activision Blizzard