September 21, 2023

Earlier at this time, Microsoft introduced that it has restructured its proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard to handle the issues of the UK’s CMA, which confirmed at this time that the unique deal was now “prohibited on a worldwide foundation.” Below the brand new deal, Microsoft will switch the cloud streaming rights for all present and new Activision Blizzard video games launched over the subsequent 15 years to Ubisoft.

Whereas Microsoft is assured that the assessment course of for this modified transaction can be accomplished earlier than the 90-day extension in its acquisition settlement with Activision Blizzard expires on October 18, the EU might also resolve to assessment the restructured deal. In a press release shared with The Verge, European Fee spokesperson Arianna Podesta stated that “The Fee is fastidiously assessing whether or not the developments within the UK require one other notification to the Fee.”

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When the European Fee accepted Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard again in Could, it did so after acquiring extra concessions from Microsoft. Notably, the Redmond big agreed to robotically license well-liked Activision Blizzard video games to competing cloud gaming companies, and the corporate stated on the time that this is able to apply globally.

This wasn’t sufficient to make the UK’s CMA change its stance, nonetheless. That’s why Microsoft selected to submit a brand new deal for assessment, and at this time marks the start of a brand new section 1 investigation by the CMA.

In follow, Microsoft transferring cloud streaming rights for Activision Blizzard video games to Ubisoft signifies that the software program big received’t have the ability to make Activision Blizzard video games unique to its personal Xbox Cloud Gaming service. Nevertheless, Ubisoft will license again these video games to Microsoft to allow them to be accessible on Xbox Cloud Gaming. Furthermore, Ubisoft can even make Activision Blizzard video games accessible by itself Ubisoft+ subscription service, which additionally presents a Multi-Entry tier permitting members to entry these video games throughout a number of platforms.

Microsoft emphasised at this time that if Ubisoft can have cloud streaming rights for Activision Blizzard video games outdoors the EU, the corporate will nonetheless purchase the mandatory rights to meet its commitments to the European Fee, in addition to its current streaming agreements with Nvidia, Boosteroid, Ubitus, and Nware. As of this writing, although, we don’t know if Microsoft might have to get this restructured deal accepted within the EU along with the UK.

Regardless of Microsoft’s confidence to finish the deal earlier than the tip of October, at this time marks the start of a brand new chapter in an already excruciatingly lengthy saga. This may’t be over quickly sufficient.