This morning, the CMA delivered a preliminary verdict concerning the takeover of Activision Blizzard King by Microsoft Official: the CMA pre-approves the takeover of Activision by Microsoft!. For the British body to pre-approve the operation, the two American giants had to make very concrete commitments.
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King’s commitments
The document containing the commitments having been made public thus allows us to become aware of the rules to which Microsoft will have to comply in order to hope to be able to complete the acquisition.
If Activision Blizzard King is of course present in the majority of items, we also see that Ubisoft plays an important role, particularly with regard to streaming rights.
Activsion game delivery
- Provide a version of the game in the cloud with identical localization as the base game (voice-over, subtitles and translations)
- Provide a cloud version of the game with the same content and qualities as the base game
- Microsoft is not allowed to resell cloud streaming rights on an exclusive basis
No Interference with Buyer’s Cloud Streaming Rights
- the parties will not take any action, make any omission or act, in each case, in any manner that would reduce, limit, hinder, frustrate or otherwise affect the rights of the purchaser with respect to streaming in the cloud and on the exercise of these rights as provided for in the assignment agreements, except as necessary to comply with Microsoft’s commitments to the European Commission.
- Microsoft receives royalty and non-exclusive trademark rights that can be sublicensed.
Technical support for games, game ports and technical work, and work on the platform
- Microsoft must provide technical support for Activision games. Microsoft may ask Activision to make PC ports of Activision games for non-Windows PCs. The parties are also required to provide Ubisoft with development and port plans for Activision games well in advance.
Parity of development and release dates
- Activision must provide Microsoft with cloud versions of its games and DLC well in advance of commercial launch. Microsoft must release games and DLC on the same date on all consoles and PC.
Buyer’s sale of cloud streaming rights for Activision games and related DLC
- The resale of cloud rights should not be different from the prices charged for games in dematerialized format.
- Ubisoft can monetize Activision’s games in the cloud, whether it’s a fixed price or one business model over another. For example, Ubisoft could choose to create bundles, or charge for access to Activision games in the cloud via a subscription.
- Microsoft may audit Activision up to once every twelve months to verify its records and compliance with the terms of sales agreements.
- Microsoft must provide Activision with all promotional and marketing assets used for its own marketing or promotion of the games. Buyer shall have the right to modify or create derivatives of Activision’s marketing materials, provided that they comply with the parties’ trademark usage guidelines and quality standards.
Duration and termination
- The parties cannot terminate the assignment agreements due to a default by the purchaser.
These commitments will take effect when accepted by the CMA, immediately after Microsoft and Activision Blizzard King have signed them.