UK lawmakers mulling Microsoft’s new deal in Activision Blizzard saga

  • The CMA in the UK has confirmed it has received the new proposal from Microsoft and it is currently assessing it.
  • The deal would see Ubisoft acquiring the cloud streaming rights of Activision Blizzard titles for at least 15 years.
  • The CMA has set itself a deadline of 18th October 2023 for a final decision.

Earlier today we reported on a new deal Microsoft was proposing in a bid to push its acquisition of Activision Blizzard over the line.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK this morning said that it has received a new restructured deal as detailed by Microsoft. As a refresher, the deal sees Microsoft foregoing cloud rights to Activision Blizzard titles and instead handing them to Ubisoft for at least the next 15 years.

“This is not a green light. 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,” chief executive of the CMA, Sarah Cardell said in a statement.

The chief executive described the new deal as “substantially different” from the last which seems hopeful, for Microsoft at least.

The CMA says that Ubisoft will essentially buy the cloud streaming rights from Microsoft for a once-off, market-based price. This purchase gives Ubisoft the right to license out these rights to third parties. Those parties can include buy-to-play, subscription services with multiple games or future applications of cloud streaming.

“Ubisoft will also be able, for a fee, to require Microsoft to adapt Activision’s titles to operating systems other than Windows, such as Linux, if it decides to use or license out the cloud streaming rights to Activision’s titles to a cloud gaming service that runs a non-Windows operating system,” the CMA adds.

This is rather interesting and would make the idea of Xbox and PC exclusives for Activision Blizzard games moot as Ubisoft could simply request that the game be made available for say, PlayStation through a cloud gaming service should it develop one in future. We suspect there are some exclusions here as we don’t see World of Warcraft ever coming to a console even via cloud gaming.

The CMA says that it will conduct a new investigation carried out in line with its Phase 1 processes. The body says it has set a deadline for a decision which is currently set for 18th October 2023.

We’re all going to have to wait until then to hear if Microsoft can finally start concluding the acquisition it announced at the beginning of 2022. Of course, it still needs to convince the US that it should be allowed to move forward.


About Author


Related News