Microsoft to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo, Sony on the spot
TOKYO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Microsoft (MSFT.O) has entered into a 10-year commitment to bring the gaming title "Call of Duty" to Nintendo (7974.T) platforms, the chief executive officer of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, said in a post on Twitter on Wednesday.
The popular first-person shooter series from Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) has been released for some of Nintendo's past consoles, but not for its current-generation hardware Switch, the Kyoto-based company said.
The announcement comes after Microsoft's planned $69 billion acquisition of the "Call of Duty" maker raised concern among regulators that the deal could stifle competition, with rival Sony Group Corp (6758.T) criticising the deal and even calling for a regulatory veto.
Microsoft President Brad Smith tweeted: "our acquisition will bring Call of Duty to more gamers and more platforms than ever before ... Any day @Sony wants to sit down and talk, we'll be happy to hammer out a 10-year deal for PlayStation as well"
Earlier this year, Sony's gaming chief Jim Ryan called an offer by Microsoft to keep the "Call of Duty" series on PlayStation for three years after the current agreement "inadequate".
"I think this is an attempt by Microsoft to pressure Sony into signing a deal with Activision and to make it easier for Microsoft to finish and close the deal with Activision," said Serkan Toto, founder of the Kantan Games consultancy.
"It's basically good PR for Microsoft."
Sony officials were not immediately available for comment.
Microsoft competes with Sony and Nintendo in the global video game industry, which saw strong growth in recent years with people spending more time at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shares in Nintendo closed up 0.3% after the Microsoft announcement, outperforming the Nikkei average's (.N225) 0.7% slide and Sony's 1.3% fall.
(This story has been officially corrected after Nintendo clarified to say "Call of Duty" series has been released for some of its past consoles, but not for Switch, in paragraph two)
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