Microsoft’s 10-Year Call of Duty Deal With Nintendo Has Some Serious Implications For The Series Future

Microsoft has promised "full feature and content parity" on Nintendo consoles.

by James Carr
Image: Infinity Ward

Microsoft has announced that it has signed a legally binding deal with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to its consoles for ten years. While this deal doesn’t hold much weight until the purchase of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion is approved by regulators in multiple countries, including the US and UK, it does give a peek at Microsoft’s plans for the juggernaut first-person-shooter, along with Nintendo’s own plans for its future hardware.

Feature Parity Across All Consoles Implies New Nintendo Hardware Soon

The deal was announced on Twitter by Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President at Microsoft. In the announcement, Smith said that part of the commitment is to have “full feature and content parity” across all platforms. While this line could refer to simple things like not having console-exclusive content, like the PlayStation exclusive Modern Warfare 2 content, it could have bigger implications. Specifically, it could imply when Nintendo plans on releasing new hardware and when Call of Duty might stop releasing on last-generation consoles.

With the Microsoft ABK deal set to close by the end of June — if it closes at all — it seems likely that the 10-year deal wouldn’t start until 2024. Alongside rumors that Call of Duty might skip 2023 altogether, it seems like Call of Duty 2024 might be the first one on a Nintendo console.

Related: All Call of Duty Games, Ranked

If Call of Duty is going to truly have content and feature parity, perhaps Nintendo might have new hardware in 2024, since the Switch might not be able to handle the game. However, the other factor here is how long Call of Duty will continue releasing on Xbox One and PS4, which are more comparable in power to the Switch than the Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5.

During the transition from Xbox 360 and PS3 to Xbox One and PS4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Advance Warfare, and Black Ops 3, released on both generations, before moving fully over to Infinite Warfare. However, these games didn’t have feature parity, with the Black Ops 3 campaign missing on the older hardware.

There has already been three cross-generation Call of Duty games this generation, so Activision could be close to leaving the PS4 and Xbox One behind. With this new deal, it seems likely that Nintendo has new hardware on the horizon soon, at which point Call of Duty will likely move on from the older systems, if Microsoft successfully closes its deal with Activision Blizzard.

- This article was updated on February 22nd, 2023

About The Author

James is a freelance writer covering games across Attack of the Fanboy, GameSpot, and More.