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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Microsoft Entering Ten-Year Agreements with Nintendo and NVIDIA for Game Access

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - They're building a COALITION.

The proposed acquisition by Microsoft of Activision Blizzard King continues to face (unfair and philosophically weak) regulatory scrutiny around the world. If you read that article, you'll notice it begins with a “a 10-year commitment to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo following the merger of Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King.” That commitment has progressed to being signed:

I don't believe you'll find many, if any, Nintendo executives discussing this contract right now because it's conditional. It is a binding, signed contract, but it only takes into effect if the acquisition happens and is completed. The whole point of this agreement is to increase the likelihood of that happening, since some regulatory bodies seem to believe Call of Duty is the only Activision Blizzard King IP of relevance. (Microsoft knows there are more than that, at least.) That said, I don't like how the tweet says they're bringing Xbox games to Nintendo's gamers, but the picture is JUST about Call of Duty. But at least it's a Call of Duty that will have “full feature and content parity” with the Xbox version, which directly addresses a regulatory concern that Microsoft would export out a purposefully inferior Call of Duty product to non-Xbox platforms.

Ah... but there's more.

Microsoft and NVIDIA also just announced a 10-year agreement for Xbox games to be available on the NVIDIA GeForce NOW cloud gaming service, including Call of Duty. Note that is a whole press release on NVIDIA's website for an agreement that, like Nintendo's, is contingent on the Activision Blizzard King acquisition actually happening and being approved. But while Nintendo didn't put up a press release or even retweet Microsoft's agreement, NVIDIA in their own press release outright says:

“The partnership delivers increased choice to gamers and resolves NVIDIA’s concerns with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. NVIDIA therefore is offering its full support for regulatory approval of the acquisition.

The agreement was announced today at a Microsoft press conference in Brussels, Belgium. Microsoft also shared today that it finalized a 10-year agreement to bring the latest version of Call of Duty to the Nintendo platform following the merger with Activision.”
I think it's interesting they made a direct statement saying that Microsoft has their full support, and they took time (the last sentence, actually) in their own press release to shout-out the Nintendo agreement.

While I refuse to acknowledge the NVIDIA GeForce NOW as a legitimate player in the videogame ecosystem (this article is the first mention of it on KoopaTV besides this short-lived failed China thing), this is at least notable for their own sake, since both Activision and Bethesda have ditched the GeForce NOW for the three years it's been out of beta. Now they can come back! ...But only if the deal goes through.

NVIDIA, Nintendo, Microsoft, Valve... it's a good team to have. And opposing the team are ideologically (mis)driven regulatory bodies and Sony, who is afraid of stronger competition. Microsoft has tried diplomacy with Sony, but they refuse to come to the negotiating table that Nintendo and NVIDIA have. They'd rather be the enemy of what's good for the industry.

By the way, 10 years is a long time, and should cover more than one future console from Nintendo. It'll be somewhat interesting to see how the Call of Duty parity is implemented.

Ludwig doesn't personally care about Call of Duty, but he'd be a fan of some other Microsoft Xbox games losing their exclusivity and coming to Nintendo systems, like Hi-Fi RUSH. Ludwig got really excited about that. Let KoopaTV know if you disagree with the portray of Sony and regulatory bodies as the villains.

The UK doesn't believe these agreements are worth the paper they're written on.

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