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Microsoft and Nintendo sign "binding 10-year agreement" for Call of Duty

Ahead of EU hearing on Activision Blizzard deal today.

Microsoft has announced it has finalised a 10-year agreement to launch Call of Duty on Nintendo platforms on "the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity".

The move is, of course, reliant on Microsoft's precarious-looking $68.7bn deal to buy Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard going through.

It's not the first time we've heard of such an agreement. Indeed, Xbox boss Phil Spencer first mentioned a 10-year "commitment" with Nintendo for Call of Duty back in December. Microsoft has also tried to offer the same decade-long deal to PlayStation in a bid to calm its concerns over Xbox owning Activision Blizzard - but with little success.

Cover image for YouTube videoNewscast: How do you feel about Switch in 2023, following the Nintendo Direct?
Newscast: How do you feel about Switch in 2023, following the Nintendo Direct?

Today's announcement is well-timed, however, ahead of Microsoft's day in court trying to argue its case for the deal with the EU's European Commission, one of three major regulators currently standing in the way of it passing.

This morning, Microsoft president Brad Smith announced the contract with Nintendo in a tweet which initially appeared to suggest a much wider agreement - "to bring Xbox games to Nintendo's gamers" as part of the company's "commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms".

However, an accompanying statement from Microsoft mentioned only Call of Duty by name.

There's no word on when exactly this deal might begin, or what Nintendo hardware Microsoft is referring to. Should the Activision Blizzard deal be agreed later this year, the earliest we'd likely see the deal beginning would be in 2024 - when the current Switch is expected to have been replaced.

Microsoft will meet with the EU today in a behind-closed-doors session in Brussels, where it is reportedly expected to offer further remedies to European regulators to assuage their anti-competition concerns.

A final decision on the deal by the EU is then due in April.