Microsoft sells streaming rights to Activision Blizzard to Ubisoft

One way or another, more than a year later, Microsoft’s bid to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion has taken its strangest turn yet. The tech giant announced today that it will sell broadcast rights for Call of duty, Overwatchand more to rival publisher Ubisoft as part of a last-ditch effort to acquire UK holdout regulators to approve the deal.

“To address concerns about the impact of the proposed acquisition on cloud gaming streaming raised by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, we are restructuring the deal to gain a narrower set of rights,” Microsoft president Brad Smith wrote. In a blog post dated Aug. 22. This includes the execution of an agreement effective upon closing of our merger that transfers the cloud streaming rights to all current and new Activision Blizzard games for PC and consoles released over the next 15 years to Ubisoft Entertainment SA, the leading global game publisher. The rights will be perpetual. .”

Ubisoft confirmed in its own blog post that this means you’ll love Activision Blizzard games Modern War II It will soon be added to its Ubisoft+ Multi Access subscription service, as well as the Ubisoft+ Classics add-on for PlayStation users. While games can still be licensed to Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service, they will not be able to become exclusive to any one cloud gaming platform. Ubisoft+, which includes blockbusters like Doctrine killer, far cryAnd rainbow six sig, It already costs more than Game Pass on console, and it will be interesting to see how this new side deal changes the service.

How exactly will this messy stripping process work? According to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, Ubisoft will compensate Microsoft through a “one-time payment” as well as a “bulk pricing mechanism” that includes a pay-as-you-go option. Ubisoft would then have the ability to license the games to other subscription services, as well as pay a fee to force Microsoft to port Activision games to competing PC game operating systems such as Linux.

Microsoft’s plan to buy Activision Blizzard was originally set to close by mid-July, but has run into all kinds of roadblocks in the US and UK. Despite the regulatory approval in the European Union, the Federal Trade Commission ended up suing to try to block the deal from closing earlier this summer, but the judge in the case ended up denying the application and siding with Microsoft. Meanwhile, the Capital Markets Authority said The deal blocked again in April Claiming that it will give Microsoft a significant competitive advantage in the cloud gaming market if it decides to make games like it Call of duty Exclusively for streaming on Game Pass.

After the lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission failedMicrosoft and the CMA began negotiating potential solutions again, culminating in a new and more complex version of the deal that was drawn up today. An agreement has also been signed with Sony to secure continued access to Call of duty Games on PlayStation 5 and future consoles for the next ten years. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard recently signed a 90-day extension to their merger agreement, which expires on October 18th. The CMA will review the new terms before then, but this whole saga is far from over.

“This is not a green light,” Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the Capital Markets Authority, said in a statement. “We will carefully and objectively evaluate the details of the restructured transaction and its impact on competition, including in light of third-party comments. Our goal remains unchanged — any future decision on this new transaction will ensure that the growing cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and efficient competition that drives innovation and choice.

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