Microsoft To Sell Activision Cloud Rights To Ubisoft

The Microsoft-Activision Blizzard acquisition deal seems all but set in stone, with attempts by the FTC to challenge the deal in court recently overturned. However, the UK remains the singular holdout opposing the deal. Now, Microsoft is attempting to restructure its acquisition of Activision in a bid to appease the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority.

According to Microsoft president Brad Smith, the company will transfer all cloud gaming rights currently held by Activision to Ubisoft, rather than keeping hold of them. Microsoft hopes that this sale will remove or reduce some of the fears that Microsoft acquiring Activision will eliminate competition and encourage monopolies within the gaming market. 

The sale will grant Ubisoft not just the cloud streaming rights for all current games owned by Activision, but those for upcoming Activision titles within the next fifteen years. These games will then be released via the Ubisoft+ streaming service, rather than remaining exclusive to Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming. Ubisoft will then have the choice to license these titles back to Microsoft for use on Xbox Cloud Gaming if desired.

The transfer will be conducted via a combination of “a one-off payment” by Ubisoft and “a market-based wholesale pricing mechanism, including an option that supports pricing based on usage,” says Smith in a statement regarding the deal. Smith and Microsoft hope that this deal will eliminate concerns that Activision games would not be able to be played or streamed by individuals with non-Windows operating systems on their computers.

The Competitions and Market Authority is currently investigating the restructured deal. They have not yet delivered their final decision regarding whether they will now approve the deal or continue to oppose it. In the meantime, the deal remains paused while the CMA conducts their investigation. However, Ubisoft has announced via X (formerly Twitter) that several Activision games will soon be coming to Ubisoft+, so it seems that at least that part of the restructured deal is occurring as planned.

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