Xbox Boss Phil Spencer has made a tweet that turned the gaming world upside down. Here are all the details and what others had to say.
Now the Activision/Blizzard/King (ABK) acquisition by Microsoft has been a hot topic in gaming since January this year (read our reporting here). Normally this would've just been in, Microsoft now owns Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush and we all carry on our lives. Believe it or not, such acquisitions and mergers are not uncommon in tech and especially not in video games either.
But this time it's a bit different. Not only was ABK acquired for a casual sum of $68.7 billion dollar USD it also kick-started a landslide of hilarious attempts to stop the deal from through. A deal of this size has to get approved by various market and competition regulators across the globe and thus Sony Computer Entertainment has started to wonder why no one asked them if they consented to all of this.
See, ABK owns the Call of Duty franchise and that means that Microsoft could make it an Xbox and PC exclusive which has Sony scared because Call of Duty sells more PlayStations with all those exclusive preorder bonuses. This is an attempt to beef up Microsoft's current strategy to have everyone and their child subscribe to Game Pass and Sony fears that it might force the poor consumer to buy an Xbox and not a new PlayStation with all those titles they have been paying all that money for timed exclusivity. Everything for the Players. If you can get a PlayStation 5 for a decent price.
Let's talk about the actual news bit. Xbox chief and cool guy Phil Spencer has tweeted the following:
Microsoft has entered into 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 bring more games to more people – however they choose to play. @ATVI_AB
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 7, 2022
That's right, Call of Duty (Probably Warzone 2 and maybe Mobile) is coming to Nintendo platforms in the near future. Apparently, a similar deal was already offered to Sony but we don't know the status of that yet. Some might wonder why port Call of Duty to an underpowered platform like the Switch? Wasn't the new Pokemon game kinda bad? Isn't that holding back the prestigious Call of Duty franchise with its graphics? Those are good questions that we'll answer in a potential review in the future. So far I can only say that Kingdom Hearts 3 plays pretty decently on the Switch on the cloud.
But that's not all, Phil Spencer also had some choice words for everyone's favorite retailer, Steam:
I'm also pleased to confirm that Microsoft has committed to continue to offer Call of Duty on @Steam simultaneously to Xbox after we have closed the merger with Activision Blizzard King. @ATVI_AB @ValveSoftware
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 7, 2022
This comes hot on the heels of Call of Duty finally being available on steam again after a year-long absence, locked away on Blizzard's battle.net.
The fine folks at Kotaku have since reached out to Valve boss and certified cool guy Gabe Newell, and received the following statement:
We’re happy that Microsoft wants to continue using Steam to reach customers with Call of Duty when their Activision acquisition closes. Microsoft has been on Steam for a long time and we take it as a signal that they are happy with gamers reception to that and the work we are doing. Our job is to keep building valuable features for not only Microsoft but all Steam customers and partners.
Microsoft offered and even sent us a draft agreement for a long-term Call of Duty commitment but it wasn’t necessary for us because a) we’re not believers in requiring any partner to have an agreement that locks them to shipping games on Steam into the distant future b) Phil and the games team at Microsoft have always followed through on what they told us they would do so we trust their intentions and c) we think Microsoft has all the motivation they need to be on the platforms and devices where Call of Duty customers want to be.
Besides the obvious shade being thrown here at their own competitors, this means a lot coming from the man who left Microsoft at one point to define PC gaming as we know it today.
We don't know yet how all of this will turn out, especially after ABK announced that they would take this decision to court should the deal fall through. And there is also the lingering issue of Bobby Kotick still being the CEO of ABK after being accused and found guilty of many things, including the soon shutdown of Activision and Blizzard Services in China.
We'll, of course, keep you updated on everything around the ABK deal and all thing esports here at ESTNN