Microsoft has signed an agreement with Japanese games giant Nintendo to provide the Call of Duty franchise for sale on their platforms for the next 10 years.
The move, once rumoured, is now official with a Tweet from the vice chair and president of Microsoft, Brad Smith. This willingness to commit to continued multiformat CoD releases is an example of the company’s attempts to soothe regulators by making concessions in the console space, as Call of Duty’s potential exclusivity to Xbox and PC platforms has been a major point of contention for both regulators and critics alike. While Nintendo may be the smallest of the home console manufacturers it still boasts a large and dedicated fanbase to its all-ages titles.
It could also serve as a signal that Microsoft’s previously claimed ten-year proposal to Sony for providing Call of Duty on their platform was not an exaggeration. As the popular, multi-billion dollar military shooter franchise has been a blockbuster release for both Xbox and PlayStation for many years.
Aside from this significant deal, the Activision-Blizzard acquisition saw a surprising endorsement from the Communication Workers of America (CWA) organisation today too. The CWA is a union organisation that has frequently come to blows with Activision Blizzard’s current leadership over purported anti-union activities. However, according to the CWA - after they raised concerns of labour relations under proposed Microsoft management - a discussion with Microsoft leadership secured a binding commitment to not interfere with labour-organisation efforts if the deal goes through.
“After we raised those concerns, we were able to enter a dialogue with Microsoft that resulted in an agreement to ensure the workers of Activision Blizzard have a clear path to collective bargaining if the merger is completed. Microsoft’s binding commitments will give employees a seat at the table and ensure that the acquisition of Activision Blizzard benefits the company's workers and the broader video game labour market.”
As with the Nintendo deal, this agreement can be a strong indication that Microsoft is willing to give a number of concessions to invested parties in order to secure the Activision Blizzard acquisition. After all, as we frequently point out, the most significant benefit of the acquisition Microsoft stands to gain is mobile giant King, and their portfolio of highly successful mobile games.