Microsoft says more Call of Duty deals with third-parties ‘will follow’
Distribution agreements are designed to help push through its Activision Blizzard merger
Microsoft has said it expects to sign more deals to bring Xbox games to third-party platforms.
On Tuesday, the company announced it had agreed a 10-year deal with Boosteroid that will see Xbox PC games being made available to the independent cloud gaming provider.
Crucially, the deal will include Call of Duty, should regulators approve Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
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Last month, Microsoft also struck a 10-year partnership with Nvidia to bring its Xbox PC games to cloud gaming service GeForce Now, including Call of Duty.
And it signed a binding 10-year legal agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms should the Activision Blizzard deal be approved.
“More [deals] will follow,” Microsoft president Brad Smith told The Wall Street Journal, as the company aims to convince regulators that it has no plans to restrict access to some of the industry’s biggest games if it acquires Activision Blizzard’s catalogue, which also includes the World of Warcraft and Diablo series.
“If the only argument is that Microsoft is going to withhold Call of Duty from other platforms, and we’ve now entered into contracts that are going to bring this to many more devices and many more platforms, that is a pretty hard case to make to a court,” Smith said.
Microsoft recently said it had also offered Sony a 10-year, legally enforceable contract to make each new Call of Duty game available on PlayStation the same day it comes to Xbox – with full content and feature parity.
Sony has argued that should the games industry’s biggest ever deal be approved, there are “myriad ways Microsoft could withhold or degrade access [to content which] would be extremely difficult to monitor and police”.
One of the ways Microsoft could choose to circumvent its obligations would be to release buggy Call of Duty games for PlayStation, Sony has claimed.