More than a year ago, Microsoft announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for a staggering $69 billion. This announcement was met with resistance from rivals such as Sony and regulators from various countries, including the EU, the UK, and the US. The deal has been questioned due to concerns over a potential reduction in competition in the gaming market. However, Microsoft has now come up with a solution that could help allay some of these concerns if the acquisition is approved.
In a recent announcement, Brad Smith, the President of Microsoft, revealed that his company has signed a 10-year deal with Nintendo. As part of the agreement, Xbox and Activision games will be made available to Nintendo hardware users. The deal includes the popular game, Call of Duty, as well as other games in the Activision library.
The announcement of this deal comes at a strategic time. Microsoft representatives, including Smith and Xbox head Phil Spencer, met with EU regulators to discuss the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Activision’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, and Sony’s gaming chief, Jim Ryan, were also in attendance. Other representatives from gaming industry players such as EA, Steam, Nvidia, Google, and national watchdogs were also present. These players are concerned about what a Microsoft-owned Activision Blizzard could mean for the gaming market.
By having Nintendo on board, Microsoft has put pressure on Sony to accept a similar deal. Jim Ryan had previously called a 3-year proposal “inadequate on many levels.” To put things in perspective, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the second most-played game on PlayStation, after Fortnite, when the deal was initially announced a year ago.
According to the Microsoft/Nintendo contract, new Call of Duty games will be released on Nintendo hardware on the same day as they are released on Xbox and PlayStation. Additionally, these games will not be scaled-down versions. Microsoft has promised “full feature and content parity” for these games, ensuring that all users get the same gaming experience regardless of the hardware they use.
In conclusion, the Microsoft-Nintendo deal could be a significant step forward for the gaming industry. It could help to allay concerns about reduced competition in the market and give gamers more choices. It will be interesting to see how Sony responds to this new development and whether it will follow Microsoft’s lead in partnering with other hardware companies.
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