Microsoft will bring Call of Duty and PC games to a service you never heard of

Microsoft Signs Third ‘Call of Duty’ Deal as It Seeks Approval to Buy Activision Blizzard

Agreement is a push to convince regulators; claiming the planned $75 billion acquisition won’t in-fact harm the videogame industry.
The 10-year Boosteroid deal follows similar agreements and is intended to ease antitrust concerns.

Microsoft is still hard at work convincing antitrust regulators that its planned Activision Blizzard purchase won’t hurt competition in the gaming industry. Today, the company announced a 10-year agreement with Boosteroid for the cloud gaming provider to stream Activision’s PC titles if the deal goes through.
It’s Microsoft’s latest attempt to demonstrate to EU, UK and US regulators that it won’t use the deal to muscle out competitors and stifle competition. Similarly, it recently struck 10-year deals with Nintendo and Nvidia to bring the Call of Duty franchise to platforms like the Switch and GeForce Now. Microsoft has said it offered Sony a similar agreement for PlayStation licensing (which Sony hasn’t agreed to) and committed to supporting Steam availability at the same time as Xbox. Sony expressed its concerns about the deal earlier this month, including the prospect of Microsoft shipping buggy versions of Call of Duty on PlayStation, diminishing gamers’ trust in playing the immensely popular shooter on Sony consoles.
“If the only argument is that Microsoft is going to withhold Call of Duty from other platforms, and we’ve now entered into contracts that are going to bring this to many more devices and many more platforms, that is a pretty hard case to make to a court,” Microsoft President Brad Smith told The Wall Street Journal. “The reason we want to buy Activision Blizzard is to round out our titles to have a fuller library, especially to have more mobile titles where we don’t have a strong presence, and build a stronger gaming business.”
Screenshot from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, showing two soldiers aiming their combat rifles to the left and right of the camera
Activision Blizzard
Boosteroid is the biggest independent cloud-gaming service in the world. Like GeForce Now, it supports multi-device streaming access but requires purchasing paid games on other platforms (including Steam, Epic Games, and Origin). Boosteroid’s current library includes FortniteGrand Theft Auto VRed Dead Redemption 2 and Activision’s Call of Duty: Warzone (among many others). It can stream games in web browsers and offers native apps for Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV and Linux. (iOS is missing because it doesn’t allow native cloud-gaming apps without clunky workarounds.) Boosteroid has servers in Romania, Ukraine, Italy, Slovakia, France, Spain, the UK, Sweden, Serbia and the US.
The European Commission, in charge of EU competition regulation, was reported earlier this month to be satisfied enough with Microsoft’s commitments to “likely” give the go-ahead. However, the commission hasn’t said so publicly and has until April 25th to decide. UK regulators’ decision is expected the following day. Meanwhile, the US Federal Trade Commission sued Microsoft to block the deal in December out of concerns it could raise prices or cut off access for non-Microsoft hardware, something Microsoft has denied it would do. The company has until July to satisfy the FTC, or it will need to renegotiate the deal or abandon the purchase, putting it on the line for up to a $3 billion breakup fee.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, which favors structural changes over behavioral promises like licensing deals, recently suggested Microsoft could divest itself of Activision’s publishing unit, which Microsoft has indicated it has no interest in doing; deals like the Boosteroid one are part of its fight to avoid that fate.

via kotaku
Microsoft signed another 10-year agreement to spread Activision Blizzard titles like Call of Duty—this time, to international cloud gaming service Boosteroid, the company announced in a post earlier today. The dogfight that has been Microsoft’s nasty, scrutinized plan to buy Activision Blizzard has been burning on for over a year now, with Call of Duty in particular brought up several times as the reason why a merger would be both unfair and too powerful. Today’s announcement is shockingly chill in comparison.
Read More: “Everything That’s Happened In The Microsoft-Activision Merger Saga”
Super, super chill. Everything’s fine, guys. Microsoft’s agreement with Boosteroid, “the largest independent cloud gaming provider in the world” with over 4 million global users, the release claims, will bring Xbox PC games to its service. And, more quietly, Microsoft notes that “Activision Blizzard PC titles to be streamed by Boosteroid customers after Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard closes.” If the deal closes.
“This means popular franchises such as ‘Call of Duty’ will surpass more than 150 million additional players, and make games built by Xbox Game Studios, Bethesda, and Activision Blizzard playable on multiple cloud gaming services and subscriptions,” the post continues.
If the deal closes. The Federal Trade Commission is still suing to block the merger, a fact that Activision Blizzard Chief Communications Officer, Lulu Cheng Meservey, suggested rather convolutedly earlier this year would prevent a show like The Last of Us from succeeding. The merger is facing legal scrutiny in the United Kingdom and European Union, too.
Read More: “Microsoft Activision Deal Hits A Major Call Of Duty-Sized Snag”
Microsoft and Activision’s legal mess needs tidying before Boosteroid, which has a Ukraine-based software development team, can move in. But for now, both the cloud gaming company and the country it could benefit seem satisfied.
“We appreciate Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to Ukraine, and we will be working together on an initiative supporting our local game development community to invest further in the economic recovery of the country,” Boosteroid CEO Ivan Shvaichenko said in the post.
Likewise, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said, “Microsoft partnering with Boosteroid is welcome news and further evidence of the company’s ongoing support for Ukraine.”
Microsoft president Brad Smith is feeling confident, too, telling The Wall Street Journal about this Boosteroid deal that “if the only argument is that Microsoft is going to withhold Call of Duty from other platforms, and we’ve now entered into contracts that are going to bring this to many more devices and many more platforms, that is a pretty hard case to make to a court.”
“Regulators have in fact dealt with these issues for a long time. So have we. And they have proven to be eminently manageable,” he said. Yeah, but did they involve Call of Duty?

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