Microsoft has signed a binding 10-year legal agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms, meaning that its upcoming games will launch on Nintendo and Xbox platforms at the same time with full feature and content parity.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, revealed the deal via Twitter, noting that this new agreement is “just part of our commitment to bring Xbox games and Activision titles like Call of Duty to more players on more platforms”.
He added: “We are committed to providing long term equal access to Call of Duty to other gaming platforms, bringing more choice to more players and more competition to the gaming market.”
In December last year, Microsoft announced a 10-year commitment had been struck with Nintendo to bring the Call of Duty franchise to its consoles, but this announcement means the deal is now a signed and binding legal agreement.
Call of Duty has not been available on Nintendo since 2013, when a version of Call of Duty: Ghosts was released on the Wii U.
There was some confusion regarding the wording of Smith’s tweet, with many assuming that this deal would encompass games beyond the Call of Duty franchise. Microsoft was asked for clarification, and Smith confirmed that the deal is specifically for Call of Duty, stating “the Nintendo agreement is focused on Call of Duty and it builds on the agreements that we’ve had in place to date with Nintendo for other games”.
There are still questions about when this deal will begin, and how the games will perform on Nintendo platforms in comparison to other, more advanced hardware. The three possible options are that the games will be heavily compromised in terms of visuals on the Switch, that they will launch as Cloud Versions, or that this agreement won’t begin until Nintendo launches its next major hardware.
The third option is seen as the likeliest, as Xbox boss Phil Spencer previously stated that franchise work will not begin on new platform support until after the Activision Blizzard acquisition has closed.