Microsoft will sell the cloud gaming rights to Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft.
In its bid to buy Activision Blizzard, one of the hurdles Microsoft faced was from UK legislators who raised concerns about the deal’s impact on cloud gaming competition. Now, it seems that Microsoft is addressing those concerns by proposing the sale of the cloud gaming rights of Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft.
“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,” stated Microsoft president Brad Smith. “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,” Smith added, indicating that they would likely not be getting them back from the French gaming giant.
Should the restructured deal push through, it means that Microsoft will not be able to release Activision Games exclusively on Xbox Cloud Gaming. In addition, Microsoft will not be able to exclusively control the licensing of these games on rival services, such as PlayStation Plus, either.
Instead, the streaming rights to Call of Duty and other games from Activision Blizzard will be under Ubisoft’s control outside the EU. With this arrangement, Ubisoft will instead license titles back to Microsoft for inclusion in its service.
“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 explained. “It will also give Ubisoft the opportunity to offer Activision Blizzard’s games to cloud gaming services running non-Windows operating systems.” (Read: Microsoft and Sony reach deal on Call of Duty on PlayStation)
Already, Ubisoft is looking to add Activision Blizzard’s games to its own Ubisoft Plus Multi Access subscription service. This service is available on PC, Xbox, Amazon and PlayStation via Ubisoft Plus Classics.
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