Microsoft sells Activision cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft to satisfy UK regulators
August 22, 2023

Microsoft sells Activision cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft to satisfy UK regulators

Restructuring of Original Offer Raises Concerns for Microsoft's Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

The restructuring of the original offer has come as a result of concerns from the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding competition in the cloud gaming market. The new terms of the offer are now subject to a new investigation by the regulatory body, which could last until October 18, as reported by The Verge.

UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the regulatory body in the UK that has expressed concerns about the impact of the proposed acquisition on the cloud gaming market. That's why Microsoft has announced the restructuring of its existing acquisition proposal, in order to avoid creating a monopolistic position in the new market.

“This includes entering into an agreement that is in effect at the conclusion of our merger. The agreement transfers cloud streaming rights for all existing and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games published for the next 15 years to Ubisoft Entertainment SA, a leading global game publisher. The rights will be transferred in perpetuity,” said Brad Smith, one of the executive directors of Microsoft, according to Microsoft's official blog.

The new agreement means that if Microsoft concludes its proposed deal, it will no longer be able to exclusively release Activision Blizzard games on the Xbox Cloud Gaming service. This also means that Microsoft will not be able to solely control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games on competing services.

“Ubisoft will pay Microsoft for the rights to cloud streaming of Activision Blizzard games through a one-time payment and through a market-based wholesale pricing mechanism, including an option that supports pricing based on usage,” explained Smith. “This will also give Ubisoft the opportunity to offer Activision Blizzard games to non-Windows operating system cloud gaming services.”

Activision Blizzard Games Coming to Ubisoft Plus Multi Access Subscription

Ubisoft will also add Activision Blizzard games to its Ubisoft Plus Multi Access subscription, which is available on PC, Xbox, Amazon Luna, and PlayStation through Ubisoft Plus Classics.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) initially blocked the acquisition in April citing concerns about cloud gaming before agreeing to negotiate with the Xbox manufacturer. Meanwhile, Microsoft obtained approval from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in federal court last month, removing the final hurdle in its home state.

The new purchase agreement also triggers a new investigation by the CMA, with a legal deadline set for October 18. A source familiar with Microsoft's plans told The Verge that the company now does not expect to finalize its deal with Activision Blizzard by early October.

Global Ban Pending Investigation Completion

Meanwhile, the CMA has imposed a final order for the original Microsoft deal, banning