Microsoft says it will bring Call of Duty to Nintendo for 10 years

Regulators have raised concerns that Microsoft could block the release of the hit Call of Duty franchise on rival gaming consoles. Microsoft said it had offered Sony a 10-year deal for Call of Duty to release on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox. The US giant is trying to allay fears from regulators and competitors.

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Microsoft’s Head of Gaming Phil Spencer said late Tuesday that the company “has made a 10-year commitment” to bring hit game Call of Duty to market Nintendo following the completion of the Activision Blizzard acquisition as the US tech giants seek to allay antitrust fears from regulators and rivals.

Nintendo was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

It’s unclear if this commitment is legally binding, or if Nintendo signed it in some way. Microsoft was not immediately available for comment on these issues at CNBC’s request.

Spencer also said that Microsoft “committed” to offering Call of Duty on the game distribution platform Steam at the same time as Xbox once the deal closes.

The announcements come after Microsoft President Brad Smith said on Monday that the company had offered Sony a 10-year deal to make any new version of Call of Duty available on Sony’s PlayStation console at the same time as Xbox.

Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision, proposed in January, is being intensified by regulators and rivals. Activision is the developer of Call of Duty.

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Regulators in the European Union and the UK have launched antitrust investigations into the merger to see if the deal would harm competition. The EU fears that Microsoft could block access to games like Call of Duty for competitors.

Microsoft this week attempted to allay fears with its Call of Duty commitments. The Redmond-headquartered company argues that acquiring Activision will be good for gamers and increase competition in the industry.

Microsoft has been trying to catch up with rival Sony and the success of its PlayStation 5 console. One of Microsoft’s biggest problems is its lack of first-party games, which Sony has invested heavily in. A strong game list is helpful for console sales.

The company also wants to expand its cloud gaming offering – where users can effectively stream games without having to purchase them individually. Closing the Activision deal would help Microsoft expand its catalog of games for the service.

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