As Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is still facing a roadblock in the UK, the company announced today that it has submitted a restructured deal to the country’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). With this restructured transaction, Microsoft offers to sell cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft over the next 15 years.
Ubisoft will also add Activision Blizzard games to its Ubisoft+ game subscription service, and the publisher will be in the position to offer Activision Blizzard games to other cloud gaming services and console makers. Ubisoft+ is currently available on PC, Xbox, Amazon Luna, and PlayStation through Ubisoft+ Classics, and the premium Multi-Access tier allows subscribers to access these games across multiple platforms through a single subscription.
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“Under the restructured transaction, Microsoft will not be in a position either to release Activision Blizzard games exclusively on its own cloud streaming service—Xbox Cloud Gaming – or to exclusively control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games for rival services,” explained Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft.
It’s interesting that Microsoft has picked up a big publisher like Ubisoft as part of this restructured acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Notably, the restructured deal will also give Ubisoft the ability to require Microsoft to provide versions of Activision Blizzard games on operating systems other than Windows. “Ubisoft will compensate Microsoft for the cloud streaming rights to Activision Blizzard’s games through a one-off payment and through a market-based wholesale pricing mechanism, including an option that supports pricing based on usage,” Smith also explained.
The agreement with Ubisoft won’t affect Microsoft’s existing obligations to provide cloud streaming rights for ABK games to other companies in the European Union. “The agreement with Ubisoft has been structured so that Microsoft will still acquire the rights needed to honor fully its legal obligations under its commitments to the European Commission, as well as its existing contractual obligations to other cloud game streaming providers, including Nvidia, Boosteroid, Ubitus, and Nware,” Smith said.
This restructured deal marks the beginning of a new investigation by the CMA, which should reach its conclusion before October 18. “We will carefully and objectively assess the details of the restructured deal and its impact on competition, including in light of third-party comments. Our goal has not changed – any future decision on this new deal will ensure that the growing cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and effective competition driving innovation and choice,” the UK’s CMA said today.