Microsoft is set to sell off Activision cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft in bid for approval from the UK. This in case you don’t know is a really huge restructuring for the $68.7 billion Activision deal with Microsoft.
Microsoft Activision Cloud Gaming Rights
Microsoft is at the moment restructuring its proposed Activision Blizzard deal to transfer cloud gaming rights for both current and new Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft. The transfer of rights in question is designed to appease UK regulators that are concerned in regards to the impact the proposed $68.7 billion deal of Microsoft will be having on cloud gaming competition. The restructured deal in question has triggered a new regulatory investigation in the UK that could eventually last until October 18th.
“To address the concerns about the impact of the proposed acquisition on cloud game streaming raised by the UK Competition and Markets Authority, we are restructuring the transaction to acquire a narrower set of rights,” Microsoft president Brad Smith stated. “This includes executing an agreement effective at the closing of our merger that transfers the cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years to Ubisoft Entertainment SA, a leading global game publisher. The rights will be in perpetuity.”
What the Restructured Deal Means
This restructured deal simply means that if Microsoft however does close its proposed acquisition, then it will on its end not be able to release Activision Blizzard games on Xbox Cloud Gaming exclusively. Microsoft will not be able to exclusively control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games that are on rival services, either. Instead, Ubisoft in question will get to control the streaming rights to Activision Blizzard games that are outside of the EU as well as license titles back to Microsoft to be included in Xbox Cloud Gaming.
“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 explains. “It will also give Ubisoft the opportunity to offer Activision Blizzard’s games to cloud gaming services running non-Windows operating systems.”
Ubisoft Will Include Activision Blizzard Games in Its Ubisoft Plus Multi-Access Subscription
Ubisoft will also include Activision Blizzard games to its Ubisoft Plus Multi Access subscription, which as you should know is available across PC, Xbox, Amazon Luna, and even on PlayStation via Ubisoft Plus Classics.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the UK deal first blocked the deal with Microsoft back in April, thus citing cloud gaming concerns just before agreeing to negotiations with the Xbox maker following the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) loss in a US federal court in the previous month.
And right now, the CMA has signaled a new investigation phase all thanks to the restructured deal of Microsoft, with a statutory deadline reportedly set for October 18th which is the same deadline that Microsoft just recently agreed to in its extension of the deal closing date with Activision.
A source that is very familiar with the plans of Microsoft reveals to The Verge that the company right now isn’t expecting to be able to close its Activision Blizzard deal until the early parts of October.
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