Microsoft says it has signed a 10-year agreement with Nintendo Duty available on Nintendo consoles when Activision Blizzard’s acquisition closes. The deal is similar in length to what Microsoft has offered Sony, and the Xbox maker has also committed to continuing to offer new versions of Duty on Steam at the same time they launch on Xbox.
The deal is clearly intended to pressure Sony into accepting a similar offer, just days after Microsoft president Brad Smith said “Sony has emerged as the loudest objector” to Microsoft’s proposed $68 acquisition. 7 billion and that “it is as excited about this deal as Blockbuster was about the rise of Netflix.”
Microsoft confirmed earlier this week that it had offered Sony a 10-year contract to make each new one Duty release available on PlayStation the same day it launches on Xbox. It’s a concession alluded to in recent weeks, as regulators scrutinize Microsoft’s plan to acquire Activision Blizzard. “Any day Sony wants to sit down and talk, we’ll be happy to close a 10-year deal for PlayStation as well,” Smith said on Twitter shortly after the announcement of the Nintendo deal.
Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, announced Nintendo and Valve’s commitments late Tuesday night, just before a closed-door meeting at the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday. Microsoft President Brad Smith and other corporate executives are expected to meet with FTC Chair Lina Khan and other commissioners today, according to a Bloomberg report.
Recent reports have suggested that the FTC is preparing a possible legal challenge to block Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal. Microsoft also faces regulatory oversight from the EU and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). However, the software maker pushed back on the CMA’s concerns, describing them as “misguided” and accusing the regulator of “taking on board Sony’s complaints without considering the potential harm to consumers.”
Sony has made it clear to regulators that it is concerned about the future of Dutyand a public back and forth between Microsoft and Sony, mixed with regulators expressing concerns, has led to a recent 10-year commitment to Duty on PlayStation. Sony labeled Microsoft’s initial offer to keep Duty on PlayStation for “several years more” following an existing marketing deal as “inadequate on many levels”. Sony has not publicly commented on Microsoft’s latest 10-year offering.
The length of the deal does not mean Duty will suddenly disappear from PlayStation or even Nintendo consoles after 10 years. “It’s not about me pulling the rug under the legs of the PlayStation 7 at some point and it’s ‘ahaha, you just haven’t written the contract long enough,'” Spencer said in a recent To forget interview. “There is no contract that can be written forever.”
In a statement to KotakuValve co-founder and president Gabe Newell made it clear that he wants to stick to such a deal Duty on Steam is not necessary:
Microsoft has offered and even sent us a draft long-term agreement Duty commitment, but it wasn’t necessary for us because a) we don’t believe a partner should have an agreement that requires them to ship games on Steam to the distant future b) Phil and the games team at Microsoft have always followed through on what they told us that they would so we trust their intentions and c) we think Microsoft has all the motivation they need to be on the platforms and devices where Duty want to be customers.