By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Microsoft on Tuesday signed a 10-year licensing deal to bring Activision’s Call of Duty franchise to cloud gaming provider Boosteroid’s platform, a move partly aimed at allaying competition concerns over its Activision acquisition.
The Activision bid announced in January last year, Microsoft’s biggest ever deal, aims to boost its firepower in the booming videogaming market against leaders Tencent and Sony, and lay the base for its investment in metaverse.
Ukraine-based Boosteroid’s access to Call of Duty is conditional on regulatory approval for the Activision deal. The agreement will also bring Microsoft’s Xbox PC games to Boosteroid’s cloud gaming platform.
“We believe in the power of games to bring people together. That’s why Xbox is committed to give everyone more ways to play their favorite games, across devices,” said Phil Spencer, chief executive of Microsoft’s gaming division.
“Bringing Xbox PC games to Boosteroid members, including Activision Blizzard titles such as ‘Call of Duty’ once the deal closes, is yet another step in realizing that vision,” he said.
Microsoft has similar licensing deals with Nvidia, Nintendo and U.S. distributor Valve Corp, owner of the world’s largest video game distribution platform, Steam.
EU antitrust regulators are expected to approve Microsoft’s takeover of Activision conditional on such licensing deals, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters. The UK watchdog however could be more difficult to convince.
In addition to Ukraine, Boosteroid also has gamers in the United States, the United Kingdom and EU countries.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jan Harvey)