Duty might be one of the most popular series in the world, but it’s not exactly the kind of game you think of when you picture the Nintendo Switch. So in a way it’s very strange to see Microsoft coming out tonight and announcing a “10 year commitment” to release Codfish games on Nintendo platforms, starting with the Switch.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer made the announcement on Twitter, along with an identical promise to continue bringing Codfish games also to Steam:
Microsoft has made a 10-year commitment to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo following the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King. Microsoft is committed to helping more people play more games, no matter how they choose to play.
I’m also pleased to confirm that Microsoft has committed to offering Call of Duty on Steam to Xbox at the same time as we finalize the merger with Activision Blizzard King.
Of course he doesn’t make these promises because there is a lot of market for it Codfish on the Switch, but because his company (Microsoft) is in the process of making a deal to buy the company that owns it Duty (Activision), a deal coming up under increasing scrutiny by governments, not only in the US, but also abroad.
The Duty series is a major stumbling block in that deal, with several governments citing that locking the popular series behind one platform will create an unfair monopoly in the video game industry.
That’s why reports surfaced last week suggesting that Microsoft was considering a 10-year deal with Sony, their main competitors in the console space, in an effort to allay those fears. However, those reports made no mention of Nintendo’s or Valve’s Steam platform, thus tonight’s announcement is clearly aimed at Sony’s bow in an attempt to isolate them and force their hand (even if it was also somewhat telegraphed last month).
It’s important to note that these are just pledges to grease some wheels and look better in the eyes of those skeptical governments; Spencer won’t be able to do that to do unless the Actvision purchase goes ahead. And even if it is, there will be questions; as Spencer says in this interview with the Washington Postpromised to bring Duty going to the Switch is one thing, getting it to run on Nintendo’s hardware is quite another.