To appease the CMA, Microsoft restructures the Activision Blizzard King deal to sell cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft


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May 16, 2023
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The change is a sort of shell game.
UBIsoft "gets" the Activision PC and Console streaming rights for 15 years and licenses them back to MS and anybody else that wants to pay doesn't already have a deal with MS. (Note that UBISOFT is reportedly paying royalties to MS from those licenses.) At the end of the 15 years the rights for new games revert back to MS. (By then MS will have fully absorbed and reorganized Activision out of existence or even a sub-brand.)

So what changes?

1- Further delays on a deal that is still going to happen. One way or another. (Right now, I favor "another", aka, hardball.)

2- The CMA gets to pretend they matter. (For now. There will be repercussions.)

3- AMAZON LUNA gets to pay to stream activision games. Big win there, in a still tiny market where the only AAA games on luna were from UBISOFT. At a premium. Good tech, minimal content, high price.

4- Anybody who thinks they can make money streaming games can pay to stream Activision games. Many will and this will balkanize the market so that nobody but the big, deep pockets can afford to stay and survive until the niche matures. Lots of money lost trying to grow a market. (We've seen this before, right?) MS likely saves a good chunk of cash right there as others promote cloud gaming to their advantage.

It sounds like a big deal...on paper.
On the bottom line? Not much changes and not a single UK company will see a change. Game streaming if it ever takes off will be dominated by MS, AMAZON, NVIDIA (seen their valuation lately?), UBISOFT (for a while), and maybe APPLE. The "competition" the CMA wants can't afford the ante to stay long term. Not when MS and AMAZON own the global datacenter networks they run on.

THE CMA has no idea of what the gaming world is like, little idea of what the tech world is like, and even less concept of what their posturing is doing to the UK.
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