UK authorities have given the approval to Microsoft’s USD 68.7 billion Activision Blizzard deal, after FTC’s approval back in July. This paves the way for Ubisoft to take control of key titles like Call of Duty, marking a major shift in gaming as Microsoft becomes a global gaming powerhouse.
Microsoft Gaming’s CEO Phil Spencer, an avid gamer, lauded the impact of Activision Blizzard and its subsidiary, King, on gaming and pop culture. Games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush Saga have captivated millions globally.
Ubisoft, a key player in the evolving cloud gaming landscape, now holds perpetual cloud streaming rights for Call of Duty and other Activision Blizzard games. In the European Economic Area (EEA), including EU countries, gamers can freely stream these titles.
Beyond the EEA, Ubisoft manages cloud streaming rights, with the potential to license them to Microsoft for Xbox Cloud Gaming. The likelihood of withholding licenses is slim, with Microsoft paying a wholesale fee for these rights.
As part of this deal, Activision Blizzard games will join Ubisoft Plus, the company’s game subscription service. The timeline for full availability remains uncertain, but this arrangement will endure for 15 years, with perpetual licenses ensuring Ubisoft’s control.
The gaming industry’s shift to streaming is transforming accessibility, with Ubisoft making gaming as convenient as music and movie streaming. In summary, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft’s cloud gaming efforts, and the evolving gaming landscape promise to enhance convenience for gamers.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, in an email to employees, said:
Today marks a milestone in our company’s celebrated history.
Combining with Microsoft will bring new resources and new opportunities to our extraordinary teams worldwide. It will also enable us to deliver more fun, more joy, and more connection to more players than ever before.
This moment is possible because of your efforts over four decades to innovate, inspire, and achieve.
Regarding the matter, Chris Early, Ubisoft’s SVP, Strategic Partnerships & Business Development said:
Taking on these rights allows Ubisoft to bring Activision Blizzard games like Call of Duty to Ubisoft+, as well as license the streaming access of these games to cloud gaming companies, service providers and console makers – meaning we’re helping expand access for more players across streaming services.