Microsoft plans to give Activision Blizzard game streaming rights to Ubisoft

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Microsoft will sell the streaming rights to Activision Blizzard games if the merger between the two companies goes ahead, in an effort to get the deal approved in the UK.

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.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 pre-orders are live now ahead of the release date slated for later this year on November 10. 

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.