EU regulators approve Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard

by Danny Craig  · 
EU regulators approve Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard
Activision

The European Commission (EC) officially approved Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard just weeks after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the deal.

The details:

  • The EC has announced that following an in-depth investigation regarding the acquisition, the deal has been approved within Europe. It concluded that Microsoft “would not be able to harm rival consoles and rival multi-game subscription services,” and that it would have “no incentive to refuse to distribute Activision's games to Sony.” The EC also stated that even if Microsoft was to make Activision’s games exclusives to its own platforms, it would not “significantly harm competition in the consoles market” as Call of Duty itself is “less popular” in the European Economic Community (EEC) and Sony could “leverage its size, extensive games catalog and market position to fend off any attempt to weaken its competitive position.”
  • Despite this, the EC did state that it found that the deal could “harm competition in the distribution of games via cloud game streaming services,” which is the reasoning behind the CMA’s decision to block the agreement within the UK. However, it found that bringing Activision games to cloud services could actually promote its growth as long Microsoft do not choose not to make them exclusive to Game Pass and prevent rival services from providing the titles. To win over the EC, Microsoft have offered two free 10-year long licenses to allow any cloud streaming services to offer its games.
  • The CMA has since responded to the situation, stating that while it respects the EC’s decision, it will stand by its own April 2023 ruling and not revisit it. Both the EC and the CMA came to the same conclusion that Microsoft’s hold on the cloud gaming market could cause issues for its rivals, but the difference between the two is that the EC sees Microsoft’s solution as a suitable remedy.

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