Ubisoft lands Activision Blizzard streaming rights amid Microsoft UK deal restructuring

Ubisoft lands Activision Blizzard streaming rights amid Microsoft UK deal restructuring

French publishing giant Ubisoft has scored the rights to stream Activision Blizzard's stable of games.

The Assassin's Creed maker has bought the right to do so via a one off transaction that sees the company receive the ability to stream Activision Blizzard games past and present for the 15 years following the deal.

“We’re dedicated to delivering amazing experiences to our players wherever they choose to play,” Ubisoft's SVP of strategic partnerships and business development Chris Early said.

“Over the past 15 years we’ve built and honed our online services and distribution ecosystem into one of the most complete in the industry. Today’s deal will give players even more opportunities to access and enjoy some of the biggest brands in gaming.”

This move is part of a restructured deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard designed to appease the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). That organisation is currently the only major regulatory body that is still opposing the deal. The CMA blocked the acquisition due to concerns over Microsoft's existing dominance in the cloud games space, something that would be enhanced by the addition of Activision Blizzard's line-up of content, including Call of Duty.

"To address the UK CMA’s concerns regarding cloud streaming, Microsoft announced it filed a new merger application in the UK that includes a divestiture for cloud streaming rights at closing with respect to current and new PC and console games," Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick wrote.

"We welcome Microsoft's decision to enter into this agreement and submit a new application to the CMA, which Microsoft believes will address the CMA’s concerns.

"For us, nothing substantially changes with the addition of this divestiture: our merger agreement with Microsoft, closing deadline, and the cash consideration to be paid for each Activision Blizzard share at closing remain the same. We will continue to work closely with Microsoft and the CMA throughout the remaining review process, and we are committed to help Microsoft clear any final hurdles as quickly as possible."

Microsoft president Brad Smith added in a blog post: "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."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.