Microsoft signs another 10-year Call of Duty distribution deal to sway regulators on Activision Blizzard deal
Regulators are still reviewing the acquisitionBy Shawn Knight 11 comments
In a nutshell: Microsoft continues to make concessions in an attempt to persuade regulators into greenlighting their $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. The Redmond tech giant has signed another 10-year agreement – this time, with Boosteroid – to demonstrate widespread distribution of the Call of Duty franchise should the Activision Blizzard deal close.
Boosteroid was founded in 2017 and is based out of Ukraine. The cloud gaming platform recently passed more than four million users globally, making it the world's largest independent cloud gaming provider. Boosteroid operates through data centers around the globe including six located in US states. Its service is available through a variety of platforms including Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and Android TV.
The agreement with Boosteroid is the third of its kind that Microsoft has signed as of late. In February, Redmond forged 10-year partnerships with Nvidia and Nintendo to bring Activision and Xbox games (including Call of Duty) to GeForce Now and Nintendo hardware like the Switch.
Microsoft President Brad Smith said the Boosteroid deal makes it even clearer to regulators that their acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make CoD available on far more devices than before.
Regulators in several major markets are currently reviewing the acquisition over competition concerns. Some, including rival Sony, are of the opinion that Microsoft could gain an unfair advantage if it were to make franchises like Call of Duty exclusive to its platforms. For example, if future CoD entries were only available on Xbox, some diehard PlayStation owners could jump ship.
Microsoft has also made it clear that it is not interested in acquiring Activision Blizzard unless Call of Duty is part of the bundle. This stance effectively wipes out the possibility of Activision Blizzard divesting assets like CoD to ease competition concerns.
One way or the other, the ordeal could be settled soon. The European Commission has until April 25 to announce its decision. Regulators in the U.K. have set a deadline of April 26 for their ruling.
Image credit: Helmet by Tasos Mansour, CoD by Kabita Darlami