What you need to know
- Ubisoft will have the cloud gaming rights of all Activision-Blizzard PC and console games currently released and releasing in the next 15 years
- Microsoft won’t have full control over the cloud licensing for Activision Blizzard PC and console games
- The streaming rights for these games will be in perpetuity
- The new investigation will have a deadline of October 18th
A new step towards regulatory approval has been made in the UK. Today Microsoft announced a restrucured proposal to the CMA for their Activision Blizzard acquisition
In this new proposal Ubisoft will acquire the rights for all current console and PC Activision Blizzard games and all console and PC Activision Blizzard games releasing in the next 15 years. The rights will be held in perpetuity. This means Ubisoft will hold the streaming rights for these titles forever.
The Microsoft press release reads as following:
”As a result of the agreement with Ubisoft, Microsoft believes its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard presents a substantially different transaction under UK law than the transaction Microsoft submitted for the CMA’s consideration in 2022. As such, Microsoft today has notified the restructured transaction to the CMA and anticipates that the CMA review processes can be completed before the 90-day extension in its acquisition agreement with Activision Blizzard expires on October 18.”
”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.The agreement provides Ubisoft with a unique opportunity to commercialize the distribution of games via cloud streaming. The agreement will enable Ubisoft to innovate and encourage different business models in the licensing and pricing of these games on cloud streaming services worldwide. 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. It will also give Ubisoft the opportunity to offer Activision Blizzard’s games to cloud gaming services running non-Windows operating systems.”
”Of importance, Microsoft’s obligations to provide cloud streaming rights in the European Economic Area remain in place, in full compliance with Microsoft’s commitments to the European Commission. 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. Microsoft is engaging closely with the European Commission to support the EC’s assessment of the agreement and confirmation that the commitments remain undisturbed.”
Ubisoft also announced the news. They’ll be adding Activision Blizzard games to their Ubisoft+ service, available on PlayStation, Amazon Luna, Windows and Xbox.
The CMA shares in a press release that they’re looking into this new proposal. With the deadline set on October 18th for this new investigation.
”’The CMA has today confirmed that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, as originally proposed, cannot proceed.
Separately, Microsoft has notified a new and restructured deal, which is substantially different from what was put on the table previously. As part of this new deal, Activision’s cloud streaming rights outside of the EEA will be sold to a rival, Ubisoft, who will be able to license out Activision’s content to any cloud gaming provider. This will allow gamers to access Activision’s games in different ways, including through cloud-based multigame subscription services. We will now consider this deal under a new Phase 1 investigation.
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.”