Microsoft is not slowing down its efforts to bring cloud gaming to more people around the world. The company announced today that it has signed a 10-year agreement with EE, a leading mobile network operator in the UK, to bring PC games and Xbox games to EE customers.
The deal is an extension of Microsoft's existing partnership with EE, which already allows customers to add an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription or an Xbox Series X|S console to their monthly plan. With this new commitment, Microsoft will also make PC games built by Activision Blizzard, following its proposed acquisition of the gaming giant, available to EE customers through cloud gaming.
Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, shared the news on Twitter, saying that “Microsoft and EE are expanding our partnership with a 10-year commitment in cloud gaming to bring PC games built by Activision Blizzard, following the acquisition, and Xbox to EE customers. We are committed to bring more games to more people, however they choose to play.”
Of course, this deal is yet another public display by Microsoft to show that its $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard will not harm competition. Rival Sony argues Microsoft taking control of franchises such as Call of Duty will lead to those games becoming Xbox exclusives or that Microsoft will actively sabotage those brands on other platforms.
Appeasing Regulators with Major Partnerships
Regulators too are investigating the deal, with the CMA in the UK and EC in Europe assessing Microsoft's position. In the United States, the FTC is suing Microsoft to stop the merger. However, Microsoft has maintained it has no intention of stifling competition.
To prove its point, the company has struck 10-year cloud gaming agreements with multiple major companies. Deals with Nintendo, Nvidia (GeForce Now), Ubitus, and Boosteroid. Microsoft says a similar agreement is on the table for Sony, but so far the PlayStation maker remains unimpressed.
A deal with the UK's leading mobile network will likely go over well with the Competition Market and Authority (CMA) in the country.
The regulator has reportedly eased its position in recent weeks and is likely to approve the acquisition. In Europe, the EC is also said to be happy with the concessions Microsoft has made. It is worth noting both regulators continue to investigate the merger.
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