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  • Kyle Chua

Microsoft Partnering With Nintendo, Nvidia To Ease Regulator Concerns About Activision-Blizzard Deal

Microsoft is still trying to get regulators off of its back to make sure its US$68.7 billion bid to acquire Activision-Blizzard pushes through.

The Xbox maker's latest attempt at doing so is by partnering with other gaming giants to show regulators that, contrary to Sony's accusations, it's not opposed to competition and wouldn't make the games it'll acquire as part of the deal exclusive to its own platforms.


Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith announced in a tweet that the company has signed a 10-year legal agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo players on the same day as Xbox. "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," he said. Smith also said the company plans to bring other Xbox and Activision-Blizzard games to Nintendo platforms.

No other details about the agreement were shared, including how Microsoft plans to bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo platforms, which typically lag behind Xbox and Sony's PlayStation with regards to hardware capabilities.


Call of Duty is one of Activision-Blizzard's most popular franchises, which has for decades been available on multiple platforms, including Xbox and PlayStation. Sony argues that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision-Blizzard could change the blockbuster franchise's availability and potentially cut PlayStation players' access to it. Microsoft countered that it was willing to partner with Sony on the same agreement it now has with Nintendo. Sony, however, wasn't willing to play ball, later emerging as among the biggest objectors to Microsoft's acquisition deal.

Call of Duty. Credit: Activision-Blizzard

Microsoft and Nvidia also announced that they have struck a 10-year agreement to bring Call of Duty and other Xbox games to the GeForce Now cloud gaming service. Smith made the announcement at a press conference in Brussels, where he and other executives from Sony and Activision are set to meet with a European Commission to debate the acquisition deal.


"This partnership will help grow NVIDIA’s catalog of titles to include games like Call of Duty, while giving developers more ways to offer streaming games," said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. "We are excited to offer gamers more ways to play the games they love."


While details about the agreement remain thin, the two companies said it'll begin work immediately to integrate Xbox PC games into GeForce Now, which should give players another option to stream Xbox games from the cloud.


The agreement, similar to the one with Nintendo, is meant to echo Microsoft's statements that it doesn't want to stifle competition, showing Xbox Cloud Gaming won't be the only way to stream games. It likely is a response to the Competition and Markets Authority's stance that Microsoft would only "reinforce" its strong position if the deal were to go through as it already owns a 60% to 70% market share of the cloud gaming market.


The two agreements Microsoft announced only mean anything, of course, if it manages to complete the Activision-Blizzard deal.

 
  • Microsoft's latest attempt to make sure its bid to acquire Activision-Blizzard pushes through has it partnering with other gaming giants to show regulators that, contrary to Sony's accusations, it's not opposed to competition and wouldn't make games exclusive to its own platforms.

  • The Xbox maker has signed a 10-year legal agreement with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty games to Nintendo players on the same day as Xbox.

  • It also signed a similar agreement with Nvidia to bring Call of Duty and other Xbox games to GeForce Now.

  • The two agreements Microsoft announced only mean anything, of course, if it manages to complete the Activision-Blizzard deal.

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