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In a strategic move to reshape the proposed merger with Activision Blizzard, Microsoft has announced that it will sell the cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to gaming giant Ubisoft. This announcement came via a blog post late yesterday and is seen as an effort to alleviate the concerns of UK regulators. The deal had been partly obstructed due to fears over Microsoft’s potential supremacy in the cloud gaming market, with a final decision expected no sooner than October 18th.
The alteration in the agreement with Ubisoft causes Microsoft’s intended acquisition of Activision Blizzard to represent a fundamentally divergent deal under UK legislation from the one originally submitted to the CMA in 2022, according to Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith.
Should the merger be successful, Microsoft is set to transfer “cloud streaming rights for all existing and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games over a 15-year period to Ubisoft Entertainment SA, an internationally recognized game publisher. These rights will last forever,” Smith further stated. This ensures that Microsoft will not have the capability to make Activision Blizzard games exclusive to Xbox Cloud Gaming and will not influence how they are launched on competing platforms. It also paves the way for Ubisoft to extend Activision Blizzard cloud gaming services to Apple and other systems that don’t run on Windows.
Regarding the deal’s specifics, Smith detailed that “Ubisoft will provide compensation to Microsoft for the cloud streaming rights to Activision Blizzard’s games through an upfront payment and a market-oriented wholesale pricing system, along with an option facilitating pricing grounded on usage.”
Ubisoft revealed in its blog post that once the deal is sealed, Activision Blizzard games will be accessible across an assortment of services. As stated by Ubisoft’s Daniel O’Connor, “A single subscription to Ubisoft+ Multi Access will enable players to enjoy their beloved Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard games on numerous platforms such as PC, Xbox consoles, Amazon Luna, and PlayStation through Ubisoft+ Classics.”
Earlier this year, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) rejected the suggested merger, citing fears over a cloud gaming monopoly. Nevertheless, after the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) failed to halt the merger, the CMA consented to prolong negotiations until August 29th. In July, the CMA expressed optimism that Microsoft’s modified transaction would address the identified issues.
The UK regulator is now tasked with scrutinizing the modified agreement, with an expected decision by October 18th. CMS chief executive Sarah Cardell issued a statement saying, “This is not an automatic approval. We will diligently and impartially analyze the specifics of the revised deal and its implications on competition, also taking third-party feedback into account. Our objective remains constant – any future decision on this fresh deal must guarantee that the burgeoning cloud gaming sector continues to thrive on innovation and choice.”
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Microsoft-Activision Blizzard Merger
Certainly! Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the text:
What is the essence of Microsoft’s proposed restructuring of its Activision Blizzard merger?
Microsoft plans to sell the cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft. This move aims to address UK regulators’ concerns about Microsoft’s potential dominance in the cloud gaming market and to help gain approval for the merger.
Who will receive the cloud streaming rights for Activision Blizzard games if the merger goes through?
Ubisoft Entertainment SA, a leading global game publisher, will receive the cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years.
How will Ubisoft compensate Microsoft for the cloud streaming rights?
Ubisoft will compensate Microsoft through a one-time payment and a market-based wholesale pricing mechanism, which includes an option that supports pricing based on usage.
Will Activision Blizzard games be exclusive to Xbox Cloud Gaming after the merger?
No, the rights transfer to Ubisoft means that Microsoft won’t be able to make Activision Blizzard games exclusive to Xbox Cloud Gaming or influence how they are released on rival platforms.
When will the UK regulator deliver a decision on the restructured deal?
The UK regulator will carefully examine the restructured deal and is expected to deliver a decision by October 18th.
What does the deal mean for gamers and the cloud gaming market?
The deal will allow Ubisoft to offer Activision Blizzard cloud gaming services across various platforms, including non-Windows systems. It also aims to ensure that the growing cloud gaming market continues to benefit from open and effective competition, driving innovation and choice.