LONDON – Microsoft agreed on Wednesday to make the hit video game Call of Duty available to Nintendo for 10 years if it overcame objections from rival Sony and bought game maker Activision for $69 billion.
The blockbuster merger faces intense scrutiny from regulators in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. Microsoft faces resistance from Sony, the maker of the Xbox game console, which makes competing PlayStation consoles, and has raised concerns with the antitrust watchdog about the “must-have” game title.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer tweeted that Microsoft has “entered into a 10-year commitment” to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo.
Microsoft president Brad Smith tweeted thanks to Nintendo, which makes the Switch game console, adding that the same offer is available to Sony.
“Any day @sony wants to sit down and talk, we’d be happy to do a 10-year deal with PlayStation,” he said.
Smith said the deal will bring Call of Duty to more gamers and more platforms, “which is good for competition and good for consumers.”
Sony’s European press office did not respond to a request for comment. Adding to the pressure on Sony, Microsoft said Wednesday it is committed to keeping Call of Duty on the Steam platform, the digital marketplace for PC games, in a deal with Steam’s operator Valve.
In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal this week, Smith raised concerns about the possibility of the Federal Trade Commission taking Microsoft to court to block the deal. Antitrust watchdogs in Britain and the European Union are also investigating the deal on grounds it could distort competition.
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