Microsoft has announced that it recently inked a 10-year distribution deal with cloud gaming company Boosteroid to distribute Activision Blizzard games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush Saga.
Per the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft said this is the third deal the company has entered into, having signed similar agreements with Nintendo Co. and Nvidia.
President of Microsoft Corp, Bradford Smith, said that Microsoft is pursuing additional agreements to convince regulators to approve the company’s proposed $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Meanwhile, the head of Microsoft’s gaming division, Phil Spencer, discussed the company’s commitment to expanding how people can play their favorite games across platforms.
“We believe in the power of games to bring people together,” he said.
Spencer said providing Boosteroid users with Xbox PC games — including Activision games like CoD after the acquisition — would be “another step in realizing that vision.”
Players deserve more choice than they have now when it comes their favorite games. Today we've signed a 10-year deal with @Boosteroid_main enabling players to stream Xbox PC games, including Activision Blizzard PC titles like CoD following after close https://t.co/Xso6ykadw1
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 14, 2023
Last year, Microsoft announced plans to acquire the publisher. However, it has encountered regulatory challenges in several regions, including the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filing a lawsuit against Microsoft in December.
FTC claimed that the company might increase prices or limit access to Activision games for those who do not use Microsoft’s hardware. However, Microsoft has assured the public that it would not take such actions.
Smith said it would be challenging to argue in court that Microsoft would limit access to Call of Duty (CoD) on other platforms with the new deals with Boosteroid, Nvidia and Nintendo. He also mentioned that any verdict made regarding the acquisition would be subject to judicial review.
Earlier this month, reports revealed that the European Commission is likely to approve Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision as the regulatory agencies are satisfied with the commitments made by Microsoft. It has until April 25 to approve the acquisition, while its U.K. counterpart has set an April 26 deadline.
Microsoft had previously made a similar offer to Sony Group Corp. However, Smith said that the companies have not engaged in talks, and a formal agreement has yet to be reached.
How Boosteroid works
With around four million users worldwide, Microsoft maintains that Boosteroid is the most significant independent cloud-streaming firm. Despite being relatively small in comparison, Boosteroid operates similarly to Nvidia’s GeForce Now.
In Boosteroid, games are not run directly on the player’s device. Instead, they are executed on a server near the player in a gaming-optimized data center.
The gameplay is then transmitted to the player’s display. The server is notified of the action whenever a player presses a button on their controller.
Unlike Netflix-style subscription models, Boosteroid and Nvidia’s cloud gaming service users must purchase games from online PC stores such as Steam and Epic Games.
Boosteroid charges its customers a monthly subscription fee to access its servers. However, users still own the games they purchased if they terminate their subscriptions.
Among many others, the current collection of games available on Boosteroid includes Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone.
To date, Boosteroid has not publicly revealed the hardware details of its servers, but it guarantees a resolution of 1080p at 60 frames per second.
Subscribers can expect to pay €9.89 per month or €89.99 per year, equivalent to $10.61 and $96.57 based on the current exchange rate.
Founded in Ukraine, Boosteroid operates data centers in many European countries, such as France, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the U.K. It also has data centers in the United States, including Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Washington.
Boosteroid’s service operates through a web browser and provides dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV and Linux.