This means Activision games such as Call of Duty, which Microsoft is trying to acquire, will be available on Nintendo devices.
Microsoft has signed a 10-year deal to open up Xbox games to Nintendo players, including Call of Duty if and when its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is completed.
Vice chair and president Brad Smith confirmed the binding contract on Twitter today (21 February) and said the move is “part of our commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms”.
Games made available on Xbox will be accessible to Nintendo players on the same day and with “full feature and content parity”. This means users of Nintendo consoles can play games such as Call of Duty just like those with Microsoft Xbox or Sony PlayStation consoles do.
However, it is not yet clear if parity in feature and content will also mean parity in price.
We’ve now signed a binding 10-year contract to bring Xbox games to Nintendo’s gamers. This is just part of our commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms. pic.twitter.com/JmO0hzw1BO
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) February 21, 2023
The move comes amid Smith’s attempts to convince EU antitrust regulators at a closed hearing that Microsoft’s $69bn bid for Activision, the maker of Call of Duty, will boost competition, according to a Reuters report.
“We are committed to providing long-term equal access to Call of Duty to other gaming platforms, brining more choice to more players and more competition to the gaming market,” a statement by Microsoft read.
The proposed acquisition of the company behind Call of Duty has raised concerns among regulators that it could stifle competition in the global video game market, leading the European Commission to launch an in-depth investigation into the deal to assess its impact.
The Commission said it was particularly concerned that Microsoft may “foreclose access” to Activision Blizzard’s games, including high-profile titles such as the Call of Duty franchise.
Last year, the UK’s competition watchdog also said that Microsoft’s proposed acquisition could “harm rivals” and “substantially lessen competition” in the gaming sector.
In the US, Microsoft has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for potential antitrust claims while its chief gaming competitor, Sony, is trying to get regulators to quash the deal.
In a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft president Brad Smith noted that Sony is “the loudest objector” and is as excited about the deal “as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix”.
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