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The long saga of Microsoft buying up Activision Blizzard took another step forward, with the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) now consulting on remedies Microsoft put forward to address the CMA's concerns.

Something to be clear on though, is that it has not yet been approved. The CMA simply said that the changes Microsoft put down "opens the door to the deal being cleared". The main concerns from the CMA were on cloud gaming, so under the new plan Ubisoft will have the right to cloud gaming from Activision instead. From the CMA Press Release:

In contrast to the original deal, Microsoft will no longer control cloud gaming rights for Activision’s content, so would not be in a position to limit access to Activision’s key content to its own cloud gaming service or to withhold those games from rivals. Unlike the remedies the CMA previously rejected, Ubisoft will be free to offer Activision’s games both directly to consumers and to all cloud gaming service providers however it chooses, including for buy-to-play or multigame subscription services, or any new model for providing content that might emerge as the market develops. The deal with Ubisoft also requires Microsoft to port Activision games to operating systems other than Windows and support game emulators when requested, addressing the other main shortcoming with the previous remedies package.

When looking into fineprint on the decision, even Proton got mentioned:

Microsoft must port Activision Games to non-Windows OS following a request from Ubisoft. Ubisoft may also request that Microsoft perform technical modifications, including to ensure that the Activision Games support emulators like Proton. Microsoft must carry out this work at its regular pace and at a quality and standard which is customary in the gaming industry. Microsoft can only charge Ubisoft for the reasonable costs incurred for this work. Microsoft is also required to provide Ubisoft with development and porting plans for Activision Games reasonably in advance.

They called Proton an "emulator" though…best not to argue on what exactly Proton is right now.

Why would Ubisoft want Activision games to run well on Proton? Well, that depends who they would license the games to for streaming via cloud gaming (as that's what all this is about). Some cloud gaming providers that end up working with Ubisoft to provide Activision games might run their services on Linux systems.

However, the CMA are not entirely convinced just yet. As they said while it makes "important changes" they still have "limited residual concern" that Ubisoft's streaming rights could be "circumvented, terminated, or not enforced". So Microsoft has again offered remedies to ensure this can be enforced by the CMA.

There's now a consultation going on until October 6th on the proposed remedies so we should hear back sometime around then on the deal finally being approved or not. The final deadline is October 18th.

Microsoft's Brad Smith said on X: "We are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA’s review process. We presented solutions that we believe fully address the CMA’s remaining concerns related to cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work toward earning approval to close prior to the October 18 deadline."

Note: article updated 22/09/23 - 15:23 to include the note on Proton

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Microsoft, Misc
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Linux_Rocks Sep 22, 2023
Any gamers with actual sense to Microsoft:

If there was any actual proper regulations in this dystopia instead of just corporatist bullshit:
Raaben Sep 22, 2023
At this point there's no real chance it won't go through. These last delays are almost making it more painful.
Jahimself Sep 22, 2023
SO they surrender to the mafia. I had hope the UK would be strong enough to prevent such a mistake for the whole industry and gamers all around the globe. I'm pretty sure all the so called e-mail microsoft received from supporters to tell it would be so great for them if they could buy Blizzard were AI generated message because none of them looked real. The only concession they made was done on cloud services almost no one is concerned with...

All microsoft is trying to do is to get more control on the video game on pc to enforce their terrible malware/rootkit platform to always lessen players rigthts and product access. Shutting down the access to old games and servers one by one to then resell them once again. I'm really sad that people accept this behavior. But maybe they still don't understand what to expect from these people totally disconnected from video games and gamers.

I have sent e-mail to the European Comission and Parliement in order to tell them about the risks for European citizen if such a deal were to be conceded. I never ever received a response from any of them. I don't even think they have any ideas of what this implies.
Liam Dawe Sep 22, 2023
Note: article updated 22/09/23 - 15:23 to include the note on Proton
Kithop Sep 22, 2023
Honestly, as weird as this is to say it - I honestly won't mind if this ends up going through. I know it's kind of blasphemy to root for Microsoft, of all companies, but the Xbox division at least has *sort of* shifted. First party games still ending up on Steam and in most cases running fine on Proton (even Starfield!), semi-official guides on getting xCloud Streaming working on Steam Deck, the work they put into WSL2... their accessibility efforts like that special pad w/ 3.5mm jacks for all the buttons...

Sure, you can argue it's for lock-in purposes, and there'll always be that to some degree, but heck - have we forgotten about the abuse & toxic work environment at Blizzard from a few years back? At least MS could rein them in and try to fix it.

It's not the ideal outcome, sure, but I can't bring myself to hate it either, I guess. I fully understand I'm in the minority on that one.
Purple Library Guy Sep 22, 2023
QuoteThey called Proton an "emulator" though…best not to argue on what exactly Proton is right now.
Kimyrielle Sep 22, 2023
I find it funny that they have a problem with MicroVision having a stranglehold on a unimportant niche-market (cloud gaming), but take no issue at all with erasing meaningful competition in the gaming industry in general.

I guess they're just playing regulation theater to pretend they take competition seriously when they really don't.
pleasereadthemanual Sep 22, 2023
QuoteUbisoft may also request that Microsoft perform technical modifications, including to ensure that the Activision Games support emulators like Proton
This sounds great. What does it actually mean? To re-hash an old argument, what exactly would Microsoft need to do to fix problems in Wine's translation layers? Should it not be allowed to use Direct 3D 12 because VKD3D-Proton is not as mature as DXVK? And likewise, not be allowed to move on to Direct 3D 13? It seems like the only changes Ubisoft can demand are "use less advanced technology that Wine hasn't re-implemented yet!"

If Proton isn't working, there's a problem in the translation layer, not the code. Obviously, the solution is to write more reliable and well-documented code, which will benefit everybody, but...it's just odd.

I guess this can be interpreted to mean, "Microsoft must contribute upstream to Proton to fix implementation issues." But then that's extremely complicated, because Wine doesn't accept contributions from developers familiar with the Windows codebase. That's because it qualifies as reverse-engineering, and makes the project liable.

Because Microsoft owns the copyright to the code, that means they have the right to contribute the code directly to Wine while still retaining copyright over them and not opening them up to a lawsuit from Microsoft. Probably.

Anyway...this needs further clarification.
poiuz Sep 22, 2023
QuoteThey called Proton an "emulator" though…best not to argue on what exactly Proton is right now.
Wine devs call Wine an emulator. It does emulate Windows.
Lofty 3 years Sep 22, 2023
ahh yes the thin illusionary veneer of the separation of corporation and state. i think there is a name for that but i can't quite remember..
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