Ukraine-based cloud gaming service Boosteroid was certainly among the happiest parties when Microsoft formally announced the closure of the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as testified by this tweet.
It’s only natural, as Boosteroid was among a restricted circle of cloud companies (NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW, Ubitus, Nware, and EE) to get a 10-year license from Microsoft as the Xbox company tried to convince regulators that it wouldn’t dominate the cloud gaming market after the merger.
The license included Activision Blizzard games on the condition that the acquisition was completed. That plan was nearly stopped by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority when it blocked the merger in late April. Boosteroid, just like other cloud companies, publicly decried the CMA’s decision, which would have prevented it from getting prized franchises like Call of Duty and Diablo on its cloud platform.
As you’re certainly aware by now, Microsoft finally managed to obtain approval from the CMA after restructuring the deal: it sold the cloud gaming rights of Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft for 15 years. While this means Boosteroid (and the remaining aforementioned cloud providers) will get Activision Blizzard games, there were lingering questions on how the restructured deal would affect these previous contracts and when cloud gaming users can expect to see those titles joining their libraries. I’ve reached out to Boosteroid Corporate VP Vlad Kosmin to get answers.
What is your assessment of the restructured Microsoft/Activision Blizzard merger?
The restructuring of the acquisition is even more positive for the competition in the cloud gaming market.
In our opinion, that was not necessary and any potential competition issues were properly mitigated by Microsoft within the framework of its license agreements with 2 other biggest cloud gaming providers — Nvidia and Boosteroid. Anyway, now that a third party, Ubisoft, which does not operate its own cloud gaming service, has global streaming rights to Activision Blizzard games, everybody on the market may get access to this content provided that they negotiate a deal with Ubisoft. It means the content can’t be locked in within the ecosystem of any existing cloud gaming provider.
Does the restructured deal affect the deal you had previously signed with Microsoft in any way? Will you need to get a license from Ubisoft to stream Activision Blizzard games outside the European Economic Area?
Boosteroid has a global streaming license for Activision Blizzard games under the contract with Microsoft. The restructuring of the deal does not change any terms of our agreement with Microsoft. In practice, there are a bit different legal licensing structures for the EEA and for the rest of the world now because Microsoft itself will, in fact, license streaming rights for Activision Blizzard games outside the EEA. Anyway, Boosteroid will not need to license Activision Blizzard content from Ubisoft; they are covered by our agreement with Microsoft.
Do you have an ETA on when Boosteroid users might expect to see the first Activision Blizzard games on your platform?
We have no ETA for Activision Blizzard releases yet, but this will happen soon.
Boosteroid will roll out new 4K cloud gaming servers by late 2023 – yearly 2024 across its data centers in the U.S. and Europe. These servers are the result of the R&D with ASUS and AMD that was in progress for almost one year. The hardware is based on AMD’s desktop GPU customized for use in the server and will enable the most powerful gaming virtual machines on the market. We hope to have Activision Blizzard games running on Boosteroid by the time these servers are deployed so that everyone can enjoy these great games with the outstanding game streaming quality.
Thank you for your time.