As the stars align for Microsoft’s Activision deal, here’s how cloud gaming will benefit

As the stars align for Microsoft’s Activision deal, here’s how cloud gaming will benefit

Microsoft Office

Microsoft today passed a major hurdle in completing its acquisition of Activision Blizzard, with the UK’s CMA providing preliminary approval of the deal, and that signals some great things for the future of cloud gaming.

CMA no longer believes Microsoft’s deal will hurt competition

Announced today, the UK CMA, which has put up a battle against Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, is greatly reducing its concerns. It’s explained in a brief press release:

The CMA has received a significant amount of new evidence in response to its original provisional findings. Having considered this new evidence carefully, together with the wide range of information gathered before those provisional findings were issued, the CMA inquiry group has updated its provisional findings and reached the provisional conclusion that, overall, the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in relation to console gaming in the UK.

Most notable here is the CMA’s new view on how Call of Duty in particular will be handled by Microsoft. Originally, it was viewed that making Call of Duty an Xbox exclusive would be Microsoft’s most profitable route, but it’s now viewed that this would be “significantly loss-making under any plausible scenario.”

The CMA’s investigation will continue through the end of April, but the biggest hurdle has very much been cleared, and the acquisition is more likely than ever to be approved.

Microsoft Office The cloud gaming deals Microsoft made along the way

Along with saying time and time again that Call of Duty would remain available on PlayStation, Microsft made several other deals regarding not only Activision Blizzard games, but also its own Xbox games for other platforms. This includes, for one, committing to bringing Call of Duty to Nintendo Switch.

But, perhaps more interestingly, is an expansion of Xbox and Activision Blizzard games on cloud gaming services.

Over the past couple of months, Microsoft has made a number of deals with cloud gaming platforms to expand support for Call of Duty and other games to platforms beyond Xbox Game Pass’ cloud gaming.

This started with Nvidia GeForce Now, which scored a 10-year deal with Microsoft in late February. Less than a month later, Microsoft extended the same deal to Boosteroid, a lesser-known cloud gaming service that works very similarly to GeForce Now in streaming PC games that players already old from Steam and similar marketplaces. The final cloud deal Microsoft signed was with Ubitus, the cloud gaming provider that’s best known for streaming games to Nintendo Switch. In all of those cases, games including Call of Duty from Activision’s catalog, as well as games from Microsoft’s Xbox catalog on PC, would be made available to stream.

We have signed a 10 year agreement with NVIDIA that will allow GeForce NOW players to stream Xbox PC games as well as Activision Blizzard PC titles, including COD, following the acquisition. We´re committed to bringing more games to more people – however they choose to play.

— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) February 21, 2023

Microsoft Office Cloud gaming concerns remain a roadblock

While exciting, these deals were always contingent on Microsoft getting approval for its acquisition for Activision, so getting that deal put through is going to give cloud gaming as a whole quite a boost. But, the CMA still sees this as a potential area of concern, saying:

Our provisional view that this deal raises concerns in the cloud gaming market is not affected by today’s announcement.

Microsoft Office More on Cloud Gaming:

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