Yves Guillemot explains why Activision Blizzard’s cloud rights were acquired from Microsoft.
What does the French company have to do with Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King, which has been planned for almost two years? The UK’s competition and markets authority, the CMA, blocked the Redmond-based firm from acquiring ActiBlizz in the spring because it believed that the cloud market would be one-sided and that Microsoft would be usurping the space. Both sides eventually put The court case on hold, and a new proposal has emerged that Microsoft sell the cloud rights in the country to another company, Ubisoft.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Ubisoft CEO Guillemot explained why his company struck a deal for the rights: “When Netflix first said it was going to go into streaming, their shares fell a lot, and they were widely criticized. Today, we see what they have become. It will be the same with video games, but it will take time. But when it takes off, it will happen very quickly. We strongly believe that in the next five to 10 years, many games will be streamed and produced in the cloud. That’s what pushed us to go forward with the Microsoft deal. Countries that need to progress very quickly often jump to new technologies and skip old methods of the old systems. So, we think these regions will move more quickly to streaming and the cloud than others.”
Ubisoft’s share price strengthened on the stock market on hearing the news, but it is still a long way from what it had previously achieved, as several games have since been postponed (Skull & Bones, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Remake…) and some projects canceled. Last year, Ubisoft received €300 million from Tencent while trying to protect itself from hostile takeovers. They are working with the Chinese tech company to ensure the board manages its capital well, but they are still listening to takeover proposals.
But the agreement is that Microsoft cannot buy Ubisoft for fifteen years!