Microsoft to Sell Activision Cloud Gaming Exclusivity to Ubisoft in Attempt to Gain UK Approval

In an attempt to have its acquisition of Activision Blizzard approved in the UK, Microsoft and Ubisoft have signed a cloud gaming deal.


Image via Ubisoft

Today, Ubisoft announced that it had signed a deal with Microsoft that will allow it to host all the publisher’s titles and every game it releases within the next 15 years for Ubisoft + subscribers to play. This restructuring of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard aims to ease concerns over a market monopoly from the UK’s approval board.

The announcement of this proposed restructuring could help Microsoft get approval for its deal from the UK, the last opposition it faces. However, an investigation that could last until October 18, 2023, will be required before anything can be confirmed.

Related: Microsoft Wins The Activision Blizzard FTC Battle, But Not The War

Microsoft Offers Activision Blizzard Cloud Gaming Rights to Ubisoft to Ensure a Fair Market Post-Acquisition

The CMA, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, blocked Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard earlier this year due to concerns over a monopoly of the market, particularly regarding Call of Duty. The reasoning behind this decision is that Microsoft would hold the biggest property when it comes to cloud gaming and could therefore impact it in a way that’s unfair to consumers.

Gamepur was contacted by Ubisoft directly today and advised that Microsoft has made a big step toward appeasing the CMA. It’s done this by ensuring that should its acquisition of Activision Blizzard go through, Ubisoft will hold the cloud gaming and streaming rights to Call of Duty and every other Activision Blizzard property currently on the market, in addition to all the releases it puts out for the next 15 years. This gives Ubisoft access to a huge audience of players who are hungry for more from their favorite series and fans of other staple franchises from the publisher.

As reported by The Verge, Microsoft’s Brad Smith explains that this restructured deal narrows the rights Microsoft will acquire as a result of the deal. It also gives Ubisoft a chance to bring previously PC-exclusive games to other platforms, something Ubisoft is quite capable of doing, given its prowess for crossplay.

It’s worth noting that, as of right now, this changes nothing for Microsoft’s proposed acquisition. In order for it to go through, the CMA must approve it. The altered deal has triggered a new investigation from the regulatory body, and the result of that investigation will be announced no later than October 18, 2023.

If the CMA approves the deal, Microsoft’s acquisition will go through, and Activision Blizzard will be merged with the company. If the CMA doesn’t approve it, Microsoft may be able to make further changes and concessions to the rights it’ll acquire to try to push the deal through once again.