When the Activision deal ends, Microsoft offers Call of Duty on Nintendo devices

In a last-minute attempt to appease disaffected regulators, Microsoft said Tuesday night that it would bring the blockbuster video game franchise Call of Duty to Nintendo devices if its $69 billion acquisition of game maker Activision Blizzard goes through.

Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision – The Biggest consumer tech deal ever AOL has faced a pessimistic rating since it bought Time Warner two decades ago Regulators around the world.

Many in the video game industry expect the Federal Trade Commission to discuss the acquisition in a closed-door session scheduled for Thursday. The commission can vote on whether to file a lawsuit to try to block the deal.

Regulators are primarily concerned that consumers will suffer if Microsoft, which makes the Xbox console, withholds Activision’s games from competitors or unfairly exploits Activision’s popular titles as more video games are streamed online.

The 10-year deal to bring future releases of Call of Duty to Switch video game hardware, developed by one of Microsoft’s competitors, is part of Microsoft’s efforts to signal that it won’t block the popular game from devices made by other companies.

Microsoft has announced a 10-year commitment to publish Call of Duty with Valve, the maker of the Steam distribution platform popular among gamers who play on personal computers rather than game consoles. The latest release of Call of Duty is already available on Steam.

“What we’re saying is that there are some questions about how we’re doing, and I think it’s an important thing to have two major industry partners at this point in time to make sure that our intent is real and that we can reach agreements,” Bill Spencer, chief executive of Microsoft’s gaming business, said in an interview. .

Call of Duty is a major video game for Sony’s PlayStation console, and Microsoft has offered to maintain that relationship for at least another 10 years if the Activision deal goes through. Sony declined to comment on Microsoft’s offer after it was made. Sony has opposed Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, arguing that it would reduce choices for gamers.

Nintendo and Valve did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A long-running franchise where players fight historical, present and future battles, Call of Duty is a crown jewel in Activision’s portfolio. It has generated more than 30 billion dollars in revenue. The latest version, Modern Warfare II, Earned over $1 billion in just 10 days.

For Nintendo, adding a violent first-person shooter game like Call of Duty to its collection of playable titles on the Switch is a surprising departure. The company has long maintained the playful, family-friendly branding it built over decades with iconic franchises like Mario, Pokemon, and The Legend of Zelda, though it still offers some mature games.

Sony and Microsoft often battle in a similar segment of so-called hard-core gamers, who may be more drawn to dark, story-driven games or challenging and violent war games.

But Nintendo has marketed an empire of lovable, chocolate-colored characters like soft pink Kirby and smiling dinosaur Yoshi. At the beginning of Pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a peaceful game where players create virtual islands, Sema became a hit.

Nintendo’s new console, the Switch, is significantly cheaper than Sony’s PlayStation 5 or Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, and differs from the more expensive, boxy consoles by being smaller and smaller so players can play on the go.

The Switch has been a huge success, selling 114 million units by the end of September. But it has less processing power than newer Microsoft and Sony consoles, raising questions about what it’ll be like to play Call of Duty on a Nintendo device.

“Nintendo has done a great job of creating a family-friendly platform that’s successful for creators of all kinds,” said Mr. Spencer said, adding that Call of Duty has “definite work to do” to make it run better. Click.

Gaming has become Microsoft’s most important consumer business, and when it announced its acquisition of Activision in January, it signaled that getting approval from distrustful regulators would be complicated. Microsoft said it could take a year and a half to close the deal, and agreed to pay Activision $3 billion if the deal falls through.

In an opinion piece Monday in The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft President Brad Smith said, wrote Regarding the 10-year concession for Sony, he added that the company is “open to making the same commitment to other platforms and to legal enforcement by regulators in the US, UK and European Union”.

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