Call of Duty is one of the most iconic video game franchises in history. The classic first-person shooter is instantly recognisable and has been played by millions across multiple iterations.
Now, the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King looks set to bring the classic game under Microsoft's wing, and the behemoth has wasted no time in putting their stamp on things. A tweet (opens in new tab) from Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox at Microsoft, confirmed that Microsoft has agreed a ten-year deal to bring the Call of Duty franchise to Nintendo consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch.
Spencer said, "Microsoft has entered into a 10-year commitment to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo following the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King. Microsoft is committed to helping bring more games to more people – however they choose to play."
It's massive news for lovers of Nintendo's on-the-go gaming platform. Up until now, the platform has relied on its own franchises – like Super Mario and Nintendo Switch Sports – to generate most of the buzz around the console. It's been a massive success already, demonstrating the pulling power of those classic brands.
But adding Call of Duty opens the door to a wider array of gaming fans – I'm going to guess that the Venn diagram of COD players and Super Mario aficionados has a small crossover. That could even cause a decent second wind for sales of the Switch and the Nintendo Switch OLED.
Spencer went on to confirm that Microsoft has also continued their agreement with Steam, to offer same-day releases on PC and Xbox. That means Steam will have the same ten-year commitment that Nintendo has.
Of course, not everyone is happy with the news. Sony have been very actively against the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King, claiming that the move would be bad for market competition. Many view the move to offer Call of Duty titles on Nintendo as a rebuttal of these claims, arguing that it isn't bad for the market, just for Sony.
Microsoft president, Brad Smith, tweeted (opens in new tab) as much. He said, "Our acquisition will bring Call of Duty to more gamers and more platforms than ever before. That's good for competition and good for consumers. Thank you Nintendo. Any day Sony wants to sit down and talk, we'll be happy to hammer out a 10-year deal for PlayStation as well."
It remains to be seen whether any of this will come to light. The deals mentioned are weighted on the merger going ahead, and there looks set to be significant backlash from Sony fans. There have been rumours of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the USA, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, bringing a case against Microsoft over the deal, too, so watch this space.