what you need to know
- Microsoft is trying to buy Activision-Blizzard for $69 billion.
- Competition regulators around the world are scrutinizing the deal, with Sony PlayStation as the biggest opponent.
- Microsoft has announced partnerships for Call of Duty to address concerns from regulators including Nintendo, NVIDIA GeForce Now and now, Ukraine-based cloud provider Boosteroid.
In another rebuttal to regulators over “competition concerns,” Microsoft has just revealed another 10-year deal for Call of Duty, with Ukraine-based Boosteroid.
Boosteroid is now the world’s largest independent cloud gaming provider and highlights Microsoft’s investment in the region beleaguered by the Putin regime’s barbaric invasion.
Currently beset by the regulatory drama over the $69 billion acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, Microsoft has faced repeated accusations that it could shut out its competitors by denying them access to franchises like Call of Duty. This agreement joins similar agreements signed for Nintendo, NVIDIA GeForce Now and Steam to maintain broad access to the world’s most popular shooter franchise, just as Microsoft has done with Minecraft.
Microsoft President Brad Smith emphasized the company’s commitment to ensuring that Call of Duty is available anywhere and everywhere. “This partnership builds on the $430 million in technology and financial assistance we have provided to Ukraine since Russia’s illegal invasion, and exemplifies the steps we will continue to take to support Ukraine’s 160,000 software developers. It also builds on our recent agreements with Nintendo and NVIDIA, making it even clearer to regulators that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make Call of Duty available on many more devices than ever before.”
Gamers deserve more choice than they now have when it comes to their favorite games. Today we signed a 10-year deal with @Boosteroid_main that allows gamers to stream Xbox PC games, including Activision Blizzard PC titles like CoD post-shutdown https://t.co/Xso6ykadw1March 14, 2023
Regulators such as the UK CMA and the European Union are still making decisions on whether or not to allow the deal to go ahead. The US FTC has already sued to block the deal, but other regulators, such as those in Brazil and Saudi Arabia, have already unconditionally approved the deal. Whether or not the deal goes through is entirely at the discretion of the EU, the US and ultimately the UK, which incorporate Microsoft’s largest markets. Sony PlayStation has been the deal’s biggest opponent as it seeks to preserve the status quo of a retail-based $70 boxed video game industry, to the detriment of more affordable subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.
Windows Central’s opinion
I suspect this won’t be the last deal Microsoft announces between now and the final regulatory decisions for Call of Duty. Microsoft is cleverly using the regulator’s own arguments against it. Regulators claim that Microsoft could lock Call of Duty out of competing platforms, and Microsoft is doing its best to prove the opposite is true by offering it everywhere and anywhere. yes it’s true is about competition, and not simply preserving Sony’s industry-leading status, then surely this is the sort of thing regulators would like, right?
Last month, Sony bizarrely claimed that Microsoft could introduce bugs and performance degradation into PlayStation versions of Call of Duty, despite Microsoft’s offer to create legally binding parity clauses to that effect. Microsoft has also offered to deploy independent monitors to ensure it upholds its agreements in good faith, something the company had to do when it acquired LinkedIn years ago. Will the regulators buy it? Only time will tell.