Gabe Newell ignores Microsoft’s legal obligation to keep Call Of Duty on Steam

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft is currently trying to buy Activision Blizzard. Competition regulators from the UK, EU and US have questioned the deal, so in an effort to reassure them last month Microsoft appears to have offered Sony a ten-year commitment to continue selling Call Of Duty on Playstation. Today, Xbox Head Phil Spencer announce They made a similar 10-year CoD commitment with Steam and Nintendo, on which no CoD games currently exist.

Nintendo signed on, while Valve CEO Gabe Newell said his company wouldn’t bother with a legal agreement, in part because they don’t believe in “requiring any partner to have an agreement that locks them in shipping games on Steam into the distant future.”

Newell provided this quote to Kotaku, offering their reasoning:

Microsoft offered and even sent us a draft agreement for a long-term Call of Duty commitment, but it wasn’t necessary for us because a) we’re not believers in requiring any partner to have an agreement that locks them into shipping games on Steam in the distant future b) Phil and the team have pursued Games at Microsoft have always told us they’d do it, so we have faith in their intentions and c) believe Microsoft has every incentive they need to be on the platforms and devices where Call of Duty customers want them to be.”

It should be noted that CoD has indeed recently returned to Steam, after a five-year hiatus at Activision’s own launcher.

Phil Spencer said he’d like to see CoD available on as many platforms as possible, which is exactly what you’ll say when legal people try to close your big acquisition on the grounds that you might not. Offering legally binding deals is a different matter, with inside sources at the US FTC already suggesting that this strategy could be successful.

The new deal with Nintendo also means they can do this publicly, now:

Sony’s objections are, of course, rooted in self-interest, but that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Ten years doesn’t even strike me that long when you’re talking about Call of Duty, which I fully expect will be available on its virtual reality deathbed. Here’s Alice B’s article on why the gaming industry is so badly integrated into reality.

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