Microsoft to put video games on Nvidia platform

Microsoft is trying to convince regulators that its plan to buy video game maker Activision should not be blocked on antitrust concerns. PHOTO: REUTERS

BRUSSELS - Microsoft president Brad Smith said on Tuesday the US software giant has agreed to a 10-year licensing deal that will bring Activision games to technology company Nvidia’s gaming platform.

The announcement was the latest effort by Microsoft to convince regulators, especially in Europe, that its plan to buy video game maker Activision should not be blocked on antitrust concerns.

Mr Smith told a news conference he was now more optimistic of getting the Activision acquisition done after the Nvidia licensing deal, as well as a similar arrangement with Japanese game and electronics company Nintendo.

Mr Smith also said Nvidia supports the Xbox maker’s bid to purchase Activision, which has come under scrutiny by antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe.

European officials issued Microsoft a warning about the deal earlier in February, while the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asked a judge to block the deal.

Nvidia said in a press statement that it has struck a 10-year deal with Microsoft to immediately start work on integrating Xbox games into its GeForce Now streaming games service, which has 25 million users in more than 100 countries.

Mr Smith said he hoped that rival Sony Group will consider doing the same type of deal with Nvidia.

The Japanese electronics giant has led opposition to the Microsoft-Activision deal, saying in 2022 that it was “bad for competition, bad for the gaming industry and bad for gamers themselves”.

Apart from Sony and Nvidia, companies including Alphabet’s Google had expressed concerns to the FTC about the deal, according to media reports.

Microsoft has pledged to keep Call Of Duty on Sony’s PlayStation gaming console. The popularity of the first-person shooter franchise is undimmed nearly two decades after launch, with the latest instalment achieving US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) in sales in its first 10 days in October.

The US tech giant has said the deal is about more than Call Of Duty.

It has said buying the company that also makes popular games Overwatch and Candy Crush would charge its growth in mobile, PC and cloud gaming, as well as consoles, helping it compete with the likes of mobile gaming giant Tencent as well as Sony. REUTERS

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