For the past year, gamers have been anxious about Microsoft’s plans to pay just under $70 billion to buy developer Activision Blizzard, announced in January. A key question, many said, is what would happen to the industry hit war simulator, Call of Duty? Microsoft on Wednesday said it’ll look to Minecraft as an answer.
Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming and Xbox, said he intends to expand Call of Duty’s reach rather than limit it, as many gamers have worried. On Wednesday, at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech Live Conference in Laguna Beach, California, Spencer said what makes Call of Duty so successful is how it’s available for his company’s Xbox, as well as Sony’s PlayStation 5 and PC. And he hinted toward confirming rumors it’s being designed for the Nintendo Switch in the future.
“When I think about our plans, I’d love to see it on the Switch,” he said. “I would love to see. I’d love to see the game playable on many different screens.” Nintendo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Spencer’s comments mark Microsoft’s most direct answer to concerns from some gamers, regulators and competitors that its purchase of the industry behemoth Activision Blizzard will hurt current and future players. Their concern, in particular, has focused on Call of Duty, a top-selling game series whose hallmark has been availability across various platforms and devices. That’s different from a game like Halo, Microsoft’s popular futuristic space war epic, which is only available on the Xbox or PC.
Microsoft had already said it intends to “honor all existing agreements” for Call of Duty in past statements, but stopped short of promising the game will always be available on multiple devices. Regulators including at the European Commission have responded saying they’re still worried Microsoft may use hit games like Call of Duty to harm competitors. By pushing a version of Call of Duty for Nintendo’s Switch on Wednesday, Microsoft is effectively proving its seriousness.