Microsoft announced another 10-year agreement to bring its Xbox game lineup to cloud gaming service Boosteroid. This is Microsoft’s third deal with other gaming platforms as the company is trying to convince regulators that they should approve the acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
Last year, Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Activision Blizzard is one of the largest video game publishers in the world. The company and its internal studios are behind some very popular gaming franchises, such as Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush Saga.
But Microsoft has run into regulatory challenges in the U.K., the U.S. and the European Union. In particular, European regulators will take a decision on whether to clear or block the acquisition by April 11, 2023. In other words, it’s a matter of days before regulators say Microsoft can move forward.
That’s why Microsoft is announcing long-term commitments to bring Call of Duty games and the rest of its catalog to other platforms — not just Xbox gaming consoles. Last month, Microsoft President Brad Smith announced a deal with Nintendo and another deal with Nvidia’s GeForce Now service.
Today, the company is adding a third partner and promises that Microsoft games will be available on Boosteroid for the next 10 years. Boosteroid is a relatively small cloud gaming service that works more or less like Nvidia GeForce Now.
Instead of running games on your local device, games run on a gaming-optimized server in a data center near you. The video stream is then sent to your display. When you press a button on your controller, the action is relayed to the server.
Like on Nvidia’s cloud gaming service, the company isn’t a Netflix-like subscription. Instead, users have to buy individual games on online PC stores like Steam and the Epic Games Store. Boosteroid customers pay a monthly subscription fee to access the company’s servers. If they stop their subscription, users still own the games they bought.
While Boosteroid doesn’t disclose the hardware specifications of its servers, the company promises a resolution of 1080p at 60 frames per second. The service costs €9.89 per month or €89.99 per year ($10.61 and $96.57 at today’s exchange rate respectively).
Originally from Ukraine, Boosteroid has servers in Europe (France, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the U.K.) and the U.S. (Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, Illinois, Florida and Washington). As latency is key for cloud gaming, living near a data center is very important.
Boosteroid says that it has 4 million registered users. The service works in a web browser and the company also has dedicated applications for Windows, macOS, Android, Android TV and Linux. As for Sony, Microsoft hasn’t reached an agreement to make future Call of Duty games available on PlayStation consoles.