Microsoft has announced that it has signed a 10-year deal with UK mobile and internet service provider EE to offer Activision Blizzard and Xbox titles to its customers. The move is part of Microsoft’s push into the cloud gaming space and follows similar deals with other cloud gaming providers such as Ubitus and Boosteroid.
EE customers can already add Xbox Game Pass to their mobile tariffs for a reduced cost via EE Smart Benefits. This gives them access to Xbox Game Pass on Xbox, cloud, and PC. The new deal will offer EE customers access to PC games built by Activision Blizzard, as well as Xbox games.
Microsoft has been making a series of deals as it attempts to reassure regulators about its proposed $69 billion merger with Activision Blizzard. The company has been trying to allay fears that it will make Activision Blizzard games exclusive to its own cloud gaming service. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is due to issue its final report on the Activision Blizzard deal later this month, by April 26.
The partnership between Microsoft and EE is not new. The two companies have been working together for some time, with EE offering Xbox console and cloud gaming bundles to its customers. The new 10-year deal expands the partnership to include PC games built by Activision Blizzard.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, announced the deal via Twitter, saying, “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 bringing more games to more people, however they choose to play.”
The move is part of Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to expand its cloud gaming offerings and broaden its reach. The company has been making deals with a range of cloud gaming providers, including Nintendo, Nvidia, Ubitus, and Boosteroid, as it seeks to sweeten the deal for various third parties.
The Activision Blizzard deal has been the subject of scrutiny by regulators in the UK and the US, with concerns that it could reduce competition and result in higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation for gamers. Microsoft has been working to allay these fears, and the company’s recent deals with a range of cloud gaming providers are seen as part of this effort.
Overall, the deal with EE is seen as a positive move for Microsoft, as it expands the company’s reach and strengthens its position in the cloud gaming space. The 10-year commitment is a clear sign of Microsoft’s long-term commitment to the partnership and its ongoing efforts to bring more games to more people.