Microsoft will hand over streaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft

Ubisoft+ logo

If Microsoft’s takeover goes through, it has agreed that Ubisoft will handle the streaming of Activision Blizzard titles like Call of Duty.

In some unexpected news, Activision Blizzard games will be heading to Ubisoft+, the French publisher’s game streaming service.

“Yes, you read that headline right,” reads a press release on Ubisoft’s website. “Ubisoft today announced the signing of an agreement which will give Ubisoft cloud streaming rights to games like Call of Duty and more, coming into effect upon the completion of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.”

It seems that this is the latest effort by Microsoft to get its long-running Activision Blizzard takeover deal over the finish line. After a lengthy legal battle with the US Federal Trade Commission, Microsoft finally won its case earlier this year, paving the way for the Activision Blizzard deal to go through in the United States – not long after it was approved in the EU by the European Commission.

But one hurdle remains: the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The UK regulator blocked Microsoft’s takeover back in April, and Microsoft subsequently pledged to appeal. The CMA’s grounds for rejecting the deal were mostly centred on how it would give Microsoft a dominant share of the emerging market for cloud gaming.

It seems that Microsoft’s latest pledge to hand over streaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft is a move designed to placate the CMA’s concerns. In a statement, the CMA confirmed that the original deal is finished, but the regulator will now be investigating a revised deal proposed by Microsoft.

“Microsoft has notified a new and restructured deal, which is substantially different from what was put on the table previously,” said CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell. “As part of this new deal, Activision’s cloud streaming rights outside of the EEA will be sold to a rival, Ubisoft, who will be able to license out Activision’s content to any cloud gaming provider. This will allow gamers to access Activision’s games in different ways, including through cloud-based multigame subscription services. We will now consider this deal under a new Phase 1 investigation.”

The new CMA investigation has a deadline of 18th October. If the revised deal is approved, it means we will be entering strange new territory, where Ubisoft will be streaming Call of Duty alongside Rainbow Six and The Division. Strange times indeed.

Read more: How much will Bobby Kotick make if the Activision Blizzard deal goes through?

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