Microsoft deal to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo consoles


Microsoft has signed a deal to bring Call of Duty and other Xbox games to Nintendo platforms.

Microsoft President Brad Smith tweeted the news of the 10-year deal on Tuesday.

He said the “binding 10-year agreement” would see Call of Duty come to “Nintendo players,” alongside “other Xbox games and Activision titles”.

This is in defence of its planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard, one of the largest video game publishers and owner of the Call of Duty franchise.

The £56 billion deal has come under scrutiny from multiple competition commissions including the US’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Microsoft’s EU hearing is due to take place today, February 21.

Why is there no Call of Duty on Nintendo Switch?

Activision Blizzard’s next Call of Duty game is rumoured for a November 2023 release. It will be the first to come to a Nintendo platform in quite some time if this deal holds up. The last was 2013’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, released for the Nintendo Wii U console.

But will it be made for Nintendo Switch? Smith suggests Call of Duty games will be released for Nintendo platforms “the same day as Xbox, with full feature and content parity”.

Those last two points make it highly unlikely a Nintendo Switch will offer the same game content as that seen on Microsoft Xbox Series and Sony PlayStation 5 consoles.

There are two solutions. Nintendo could offer a streamed version of the game through its Cloud Streaming service. This was introduced in 2020 and lets Nintendo Switch owners play games the system itself could not handle well, such as Control: Ultimate Edition and Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

Alternatively, we could see a Nintendo Switch follow-up before the next Call of Duty game arrives.

Where is the Nintendo Switch 2?

The Nintendo Switch 2 was — sort of — also just leaked in a UK Competition and Markets Authority document. This document was made as part of the investigation into Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

In a section on Xbox Game Pass competitors, it says Nintendo Switch Online “is only available on the Nintendo Switch device and [redacted]”.

Did that redacted part originally read “Switch 2” or “Switch Pro”?

Nintendo’s recent February Direct showcase of upcoming games suggested the Switch is on its way out, with releases slowing down dramatically. But a new Nintendo Switch before the end of the year?  That may be a touch optimistic.

Earlier this month, the Nintendo Switch became the third best-selling console of all time, behind the Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS. It has sold upwards of 122 million units in its almost six years of existence. The PlayStation 2 sold 155 million, and was in production from 2000 to 2013.