It is game on for the Microsoft and Activision deal as a concession brings competitor Ubisoft into the fold. Today the CMA has accepted Microsoft’s concession that sees Activision’s rival Ubisoft buy the cloud streaming rights (outside of EEA) for all of Activision’s PC and console content produced over the next 15 years. Activision Blizzard is the gaming creator and publisher behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch.
The $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision by Microsoft has been thwarted at every turn since its announcement in January 2022, with competition standards flagged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the European Commission and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK.
“We delivered a clear message to Microsoft that the deal would be blocked unless they comprehensively addressed our concerns and stuck to our guns on that,” says Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA.
“With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market. As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services and more choice. We are the only competition agency globally to have delivered this outcome,” she said.
The stranglehold that Microsoft would have had on the gaming industry, had the original deal gone through, would have meant the Xbox firm locking up competition in cloud gaming, it already controls a significant share of the market through its cloud infrastructure activities.
The deal allows Ubisoft to offer Activision’s content under any business model, including through multigame subscription services and ensuring that cloud gaming providers will be able to use non-Windows operating systems for Activision content.
Meanwhile, Stateside the FTC requested to extend its discovery on the Ubisoft deal and Microsoft’s deal with Sony which will see Call of Duty remain on PlayStation for the next ten years following the acquisition.
Lead image: via Unslpash. Photo: Kamil S.