CMA OKs Microsoft’s plan to sell cloud gaming to Ubisoft, final decision nears

Kip Kniskern

Late last night (Friday morning in the UK), the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a press release saying that a deal proposed by Microsoft to sell cloud gaming rights for Activision games to Ubisoft “substantially address the concerns it set out in relation to the original transaction earlier this year.”

In particular, the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft will prevent this important content – including games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft – from coming under the control of Microsoft in relation to cloud gaming. The CMA originally found that Microsoft already has a strong position in cloud gaming services and could have used its control over Activision content to stifle competition and reinforce this position. The new deal instead results in the cloud streaming rights for Activision’s games being transferred to an independent player, Ubisoft, maintaining open competition as the market for cloud gaming develops over the coming years.

The CMA goes on to say that Microsoft has offered furthur remedies “to ensure that the terms of the sale of Activision’s rights to Ubisoft are enforceable by the CMA,” and has opened a consultation, until October 6th, on those remedies.

While Microsoft still isn’t out of the woods yet with gaining approval for its $68 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, this latest development puts them much closer, and it looks more likely that the deal could close before the October 18th deadline set by Microsoft and Activision.

Microsoft President Brad Smith was pleased with the news:

While the deal isn’t quite as lucrative without the cloud gaming piece, this will still be a major upgrade for the Xbox gaming portfolio, both for current games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, and the future of Xbox gaming.

Do you think this deal is about to get done? Will there be any more last minute issues? Let us know in the comments below.