Microsoft has made a significant change to the ongoing acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The company has announced that the rights for existing and future games from the developer will be transferred to Ubisoft if the merger can be successfully completed. According to Microsoft, this move is intended to satisfy the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which has thus far not approved the deal.
Specifically, this concerns the rights to all existing PC and console games from Activision Blizzard, as well as those to be released over the next 15 years. Ubisoft will retain permanent ownership of these rights. This decision does not impact a previous commitment to the EU, where all current and future games are set to be released on all cloud gaming platforms in the European Economic Area over the next ten years.
The restructuring will prevent Microsoft from making Activision Blizzard games exclusively available through Xbox Cloud Gaming. The company will also not have control over the licensing agreements concerning rival cloud services, as these will be managed by Ubisoft. Ubisoft will compensate Microsoft for these rights, which in turn means that the latter will have to pay to offer these titles via Xbox Cloud Gaming.
The CMA will now review the revised terms and their potential impact on the market. The final decision will be made by October 18th, which coincides with the new deadline of the $68.7 billion acquisition. If this date is not met, Microsoft will be required to pay a $3 billion fee to Activision Blizzard.