In an effort to appease the UK's CMA Microsoft makes a bold move in giving Ubisoft future cloud streaming rights for Activision titles.
Microsoft didn't quite get their deal through when it came to buying Activision Blizzard in the UK. One of the issues raised were concerns about them controlling too much of the market, and being able to withhold games from other platforms. It's a fairly logical concern, and while acquisitions are commonplace in the gaming industry, one of this scale is fairly new.
Microsoft has announced in a new blog post that they're doing something fairly big to address these concerns, which involves a large change to how the deal will work:
"This includes executing an agreement effective at the closing of our merger that transfers the cloud streaming rights for all current and new Activision Blizzard PC and console games released over the next 15 years to Ubisoft Entertainment SA, a leading global game publisher. The rights will be in perpetuity."
The aim here is to make it so that someone else controls the cloud gaming rights, which theoretically means that any console can have access to these games as long as they have access to Ubisoft's cloud gaming platform.
It also means that "Microsoft will not be in a position either to release Activision Blizzard games exclusively on its own cloud streaming service—Xbox Cloud Gaming – or to exclusively control the licensing terms of Activision Blizzard games for rival services."
This is a big boon to Ubisoft's potential place in the cloud gaming market, and should, theoretically, alleviate some of the worries about an all-powerful gaming monopoly. The company is still touting that this is good for gamers out there too: "We believe that this development is positive for players, the progression of the cloud game streaming market, and for the growth of our industry."
While that might be true, it's odd to see a company touting anything other than it being a business deal that makes them money. We'll have to wait and see whether or not this actually does enough to make the UK market happy enough to let this go ahead.