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Gabe Newell Responds To Microsoft's Pledge To Keep Call Of Duty On Steam If Activision Deal Goes Through

Newell said he is happy that Phil Spencer wanted to make it official, but it wasn't necessary.


Valve boss Gabe Newell has responded to Microsoft's announcement that it would continue to release the Call of Duty series on Steam should its deal to buy Activision Blizzard go through. Newell told Kotaku that Valve is happy that Microsoft wants to keep making Call of Duty available on Steam, but putting it down on paper in an official capacity wasn't actually necessary.

Newell said Valve, as a company, doesn't believe in requirements from publishing partners, and Microsoft and the Call of Duty series is no exception. Newell said he takes Spencer at his word.

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"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 to shipping games on Steam into the distant future b) Phil and the games team at Microsoft have always followed through on what they told us they would do so we trust their intentions and c) we think Microsoft has all the motivation they need to be on the platforms and devices where Call of Duty customers want to be," Newell said.

All of that said, Newell went on to say that Valve is pleased with Microsoft's moves here. "We take it as a signal that they are happy with gamers' reception to that and the work we are doing. Our job is to keep building valuable features for not only Microsoft but all Steam customers and partners," Newell said.

The Call of Duty series was locked out of Steam for years as Activision opted to release the franchise on PC through its own launcher, thus avoiding Valve's platform fee. Activision changed its policy this year and launched Modern Warfare II on Steam, where the game has enjoyed great success. Valve is also benefitting greatly through the collection of its store fee.

Spencer made waves on Tuesday when he announced that Microsoft cut a 10-year deal to bring the Call of Duty series to Nintendo if its proposed deal to buy Activision Blizzard goes through. Many believe this was a targeted bargaining tactic to pressure Sony to agree to a similar licensing deal and appease regulators who have raised concerns about Call of Duty becoming exclusive to Xbox.

For its part, Microsoft president Brad Smith said making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox would be a bad business decision and could lead to a "disastrous" scenario for Xbox.

This is all happening as the Federal Trade Commission is reportedly planning to sue Microsoft over the deal. Nothing is guaranteed, however, and some believe the possibility of a lawsuit from the FTC was intentionally leaked to the press.

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