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Microsoft And Nvidia Reach A Deal to Satisfy Activision Acquisition Regulators

Skylar Williams

Feb 22, 2023 14:20


Microsoft Corp has reached a 10-year agreement to bring "Call of Duty" and other Activision titles to Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) Corp's gaming platform if the Xbox manufacturer is permitted to complete its highly contentious $69 billion acquisition of Activision.

Competitors such as Sony (NYSE:SONY) and regulators have spoken out strongly against the potential Microsoft-Activision merger. Regulators throughout the world have expressed skepticism about Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) purchase, despite the move's potential to assuage concerns by expanding customers' access to Microsoft-controlled games.

The UK stated earlier this month that the agreement might be detrimental to gamers by diminishing the competitiveness between Xbox and PlayStation, leading to higher costs, less options, and less innovation for millions of users, as well as restricting competition in cloud gaming.

Microsoft President Brad Smith stated at a press conference on Tuesday that he is now more hopeful about the completion of the Activision purchase following the Nvidia pact and a similar agreement with Nintendo Co Ltd. (TYO:7974).

Phil Eisler, vice president and general manager of Nvidia's GeForce Now segment, stated that titles such as "Call of Duty" will not be accessible on Nvidia's service unless Microsoft acquires Activision, whereas Microsoft-owned titles such as "Minecraft" are immediately covered under the 10-year license agreement.

"We were at first a little apprehensive," Eisler remarked of the Microsoft-Activision partnership. "Next, we reached out to Microsoft, who was eager to enable cloud gaming and collaborate with us on a 10-year licensing arrangement. Hence, they gradually made us more used to it over time."

Eisler stated that Nvidia does not pay Microsoft for access to the titles, which is consistent with the company's relationship with other gaming businesses, such as "Fortnite" developer Epic Games. Instead, Nvidia will charge its 25 million consumers for access to its cloud gaming platform and Microsoft for its games.

Microsoft sank 2%, Nvidia declined 3.4%, and Activision slid 0.7% in a Tuesday afternoon market that was generally weaker.

Nvidia announced that it now supports the Xbox manufacturer's quest to acquire Activision, although the transaction may still be difficult to sell to authorities. Earlier this month, European regulators issued a warning to Microsoft on the merger, while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has urged a judge to prohibit it. The British competition watchdog has suggested that Microsoft may be required to sell "Call of Duty."

Smith expressed his hope that Sony Group Corp might contemplate a similar partnership with Nvidia.

Sony has been at the forefront of resistance to the Microsoft-Activision agreement, declaring last year that it was "terrible for competition, bad for the gaming industry, and awful for gamers themselves."

According to media reports, other corporations, including Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc's Google, have voiced concerns to the FTC over the transaction.

Microsoft has committed to maintaining "Call of Duty" on the PlayStation. The popularity of the first-person shooter franchise has not waned nearly two decades after its inception, with the most recent iteration selling $1 billion in its first ten days of release in October.

The U.S. tech behemoth has stated that the partnership goes beyond "Call of Duty." It has stated that acquiring the developer of "Overwatch" and "Candy Crush" will accelerate its expansion in mobile, Desktop, and cloud gaming, as well as consoles, allowing it to compete with Tencent and Sony.