The agreement does not specify the first year a Call of Duty title would be available on the Nintendo Switch. A new Call of Duty title releasing would likely be the first to come to the Nintendo Switch, although Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer told The Washington Post in an interview that the entire portfolio would still have been vetted to see which titles do. to the switch. There’s no date set yet for Call of Duty’s first arrival on the Switch.
“You can imagine if [the deal] closed on that date, starting to do development work to get there would probably take a bit of time,” Spencer said, referring to the June 2023 date when the merger is supposed to close, if not. blocked by regulators. “Once we get up to speed, our plan would be that when [a Call of Duty game] launches on PlayStation, Xbox and PC, that it would also be available on Nintendo at the same time.
Spencer cited Microsoft-owned titles like “Minecraft” heading to the Switch as examples of how the company has experience bringing games to different platforms.
“We would also do that with Minecraft, where we would do specific work to make the game work well on Nintendo Switch and their silicon and fully support their platform,” Spencer said. “We do the same when we ship on PlayStation 5.”
When asked if the Switch has enough tech specs to run Call of Duty smoothly, Spencer said, “Minecraft and Call of Duty are different games. But the way you get games on Nintendo, how you lead a development team that targets multiple platforms, that’s the experience we have.
Spencer said Nintendo’s deal with Microsoft specifies ten years, because that length will be comforting to gamers, and it’s likely the companies will continue to work together.
“It’s just about picking an expiration date, not with the intent of expiring one day, but just like, the legalese of a document has to say it goes by a date,” Spencer said. “But once we start working with a platform, just like we did with Minecraft, both on PlayStation and Nintendo’s platform, our goal would be to continue supporting those customers.”
The move comes as Microsoft awaits Federal Trade Commission regulatory review of its proposed acquisition, which has faced a significant challenge from rival PlayStation console maker Sony, which believes the potential for Call of Duty becoming exclusive to Microsoft platforms would give the company an unfair advantage in the video game market. Sony didn’t agree to a deal with Microsoft that would keep Call of Duty on PlayStation for ten years. Sony declined to comment.
The announcement comes shortly before a December 8 closed meeting of the FTC. While the FTC declined to say whether it is meeting with Microsoft this week, Bloomberg said Microsoft plans to meet with FTC Chair Lina Khan on Wednesday to persuade her to approve the deal. When asked if there was any significance to the upcoming announcement in relation to the FTC meeting, Spencer replied, “The things I have heard and seen written in the press are maybe be an intention on our side when we make public commitments to Sony, that our private commitments are untenable or do not work for partners, or for Sony in particular.
He added that he wanted to show major industry partners like Nintendo and Valve that deals can be done, even if Sony hasn’t agreed. “Maybe a certain aura is put around our words that maybe they’re not genuine, that when a company like Nintendo or a company like Valve believes in commitment and comes to an agreement with Nintendo on something like that, we think it’s an important point to have in the market.
A common question line among international regulators evaluating the acquisition has been whether Call of Duty, one of Activision Blizzard’s most successful franchises, will be made unavailable to PlayStation users. Microsoft has repeatedly assured regulators that the series will remain on all current platforms — which currently include Xbox, PlayStation, and PC — and said it would be financially unwise to halt publication for PlayStation.
Activision Blizzard and Nintendo did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.
Activision Blizzard has been notified of the deal, and Spencer said they are in a planning phase.
Cat Zakrzewski and Jonathan Lee contributed to this report.
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