Microsoft president Brad Smith announced the change to the acquisition earlier today on August 22. Smith revealed that if Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard, it's agreed to sell the streaming rights to all Activision Blizzard games, across both PC and console platforms alike, to Ubisoft for their cloud gaming services.
"Under the restructured transaction, 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," Smith wrote.
As such, Ubisoft will be handed the streaming rights for Activision Blizzard games for 15 years after the deal closes. It's a significant change for Microsoft's acquisition plans, but it means the company won't be able to make Activision Blizzard games exclusive on streaming for any one platform.
Microsoft has taken this move to try and reassure UK regulators about the terms of its purchase of Activision Blizzard. UK authorities previously ruled against the acquisition, the only government to deliver such a ruling against Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.
One of the chief reasons the UK ruled against the acquisition was on the grounds that Microsoft might have a monopoly in the game streaming space. With this announcement today, Microsoft has cleverly restructured the deal to specifically address the concerns of UK regulators.
"The CMA has today confirmed that Microsoft's acquisition of Activision, as originally proposed, cannot proceed," the UK government said in response today. "We will carefully and objectively assess the details of the restructured deal and its impact on competition, including in light of third-party comments."
The UK government hasn't yet approved Microsoft's revised acquisition plans for Activision Blizzard, and the new response says it hasn't given the plans the "green light." It might take the UK government a few weeks, or even months, to deliver a revised ruling on the deal.
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