Nvidia – Microsoft has been on a roll with its artificial intelligence advancements in 2023, and it now appears that the corporation will continue to win.
On Tuesday, the tech titan announced that it will add Xbox PC games to Nvidia’s cloud gaming service.
According to reports, the gaming chipmaker was opposed to a huge gaming deal.
The announcement came after a meeting on Tuesday between Microsoft President Brad Smith and European Union officials.
The conversation was centered on his efforts to persuade them that Activision Blizzard’s proposed $69 billion acquisition would improve competition.
Microsoft promised reconciliation in order to avoid the merger being blocked, therefore expanding its gaming business, which accounts for 9% of total sales.
Despite falling Xbox console sales, Microsoft has been investing in growing its game collection and allowing players to play through Microsoft cloud data centers.
Brad Smith stated during a press conference that Xbox titles will be available instantaneously on Nvidia’s GeForce Now cloud game services.
Smith indicated that after the Activision acquisition is done, all Activision Blizzard titles would be available in GeForce Now.
Microsoft and Nvidia published a joint statement announcing a 10-year deal, putting Nvidia in the same regulatory boat as Microsoft’s proposed purchase.
Bloomberg reported last month that Nvidia has raised concerns with the US Federal Trade Commission regarding the Activision purchase.
Nvidia’s senior vice president of GeForce, Jeff Fisher, stated:
“Combining the incredibly rich catalog of Xbox first party games with GeForce Now’s high-performance streaming capabilities will propel cloud gaming into a mainstream offering that appeals to gamers at all levels of interest and experience.”
“Through this partnership, more of the world’s most popular titles will now be available from the cloud with just a click, playable by millions more gamers.”
Microsoft originally proposed acquiring Activision Blizzard in January 2022, but the acquirer has since faced regulatory objections in the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.
According to Brad Smith, the Nvidia agreement is crucial because it allows Microsoft to resolve a number of issues raised by regulators.
In November, the European Commission undertook a detailed investigation of the transaction, expressing concerns that it would hinder competition in the video gaming industry.
Last year, the EU Commission voiced concern that if the deal goes through, Microsoft may restrict access to the game on other platforms.
Also, the commission is concerned that Microsoft may gain an unfair advantage in cloud gaming.
Microsoft now provides the Game Pass service, which charges gamers $9.99 per month for access to a huge number of titles.
The acquisition of Activision would allow them to bring high-profile titles to Game Pass.
The GeForce Now service from Nvidia has over 25 million customers.
However, Microsoft claimed that Game Pass had 25 million subscribers.
Nvidia offers both free and premium GeForce Now tiers, with the latter offering a higher resolution.
GeForce Now subscribers may stream games purchased from Microsoft’s app store, as well as titles purchased from Epic Games and Steam’s app shops, across the cloud.
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The ten-year commitment
When the Activision merger was done, Microsoft guaranteed a 10-year commitment to deliver Call of Duty to Nintendo.
Many saw the declaration as an attempt to allay antitrust regulators’ concerns.
Furthermore, Smith tweeted on Tuesday that the two had signed a formal 10-year legal agreement to offer Call of Duty to Nintendo gamers on the same day that Microsoft’s Xbox was released.
The Microsoft CEO also remarked that the acquisitions of Nintendo and Nvidia are advantageous to gaming competition.
“I think if you’re a competition regulator and you’re focused on the interests of consumers and competition, today was a good day,” said Smith.
Regulators eye the deal
European officials aren’t the only ones concerned about the merger; officials in the United States and the United Kingdom are as well.
Earlier this month, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority claimed that the merger will only exacerbate competition difficulties, leading to higher prices, fewer alternatives, and less innovation.
According to the regulator, the transaction might be halted, and Microsoft’s options include divesting the Call of Duty brand.
Smith, on the other hand, argued that there is no practical requirement for the firm to sell the Call of Duty game.
“It just isn’t something that seems to be lining up,” said Smith.
“The only reason to sell it off is the CMA’s potential concern that if we buy it, we won’t provide it to others as broadly.”
“I think that concern should be dispelled by the two agreements we’ve signed today.”
The FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in December in an attempt to block the Activision deal.
Alphabet, Google’s parent firm, was evidently dissatisfied with the Microsoft purchase and sought the FTC.
“The European Commission asked for our views in the course of their inquiries into this issue,” said a Google spokesperson.
“We will continue to cooperate in any processes, when requested, to ensure all views are considered.”
Although they did not address the charges, Alphabet’s worries were recognized by Brad Smith, who stated:
“It’s easy to understand that Google might have questions about whether something like Call of Duty would be available in the future on, say, Chromebooks and the Chrome operating system.”
Image source: CNN