In a surprising turn of events, the ongoing Microsoft Activision Blizzard has been approved by the European Union regulators. This comes several days after reports that this deal was set to be approved, with the deal officially being approved by the EU regulators on May 15, 2023.
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard (‘Activision’) by Microsoft. The approval is conditional on full compliance with the commitments offered by Microsoft. The commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation.
This comes after the UK’s CMA ruled to deny the ongoing deal, basing their concerns on Microsoft/Xbox’s “monopoly” of cloud gaming, and its not wanting to hinder the still infantile cloud gaming market. Both companies have already stated they would appeal the decision.
Still, with the EU giving the Microsoft-Activision Deal their blessing, this is a positive sign. This leaves the CMA that we already talked about, and the FTC to approve or deny the deal. With most of the regulatory boards being onboard, it’s going to be up to the FTC, which can make or break everything, despite the CMA’s ruling, as There can be other ways to approach that region.
However, I still feel that despite this, the CMA will likely double down, mainly due to them being incorrect in their ruling, but not being seen as the bad person. We talked about this in episode #133 of the Spectator Mode Podcast and how we felt that the CMA doesn’t have a clue in regards to the cloud gaming scene. While Xbox cloud gaming is seen as the biggest horse in the race, they are far from the only one.
Update: The CMA has indeed doubled down and has tossed a few choice words towards the UK’s regulatory board.
The UK, US and European competition authorities are unanimous that this merger would harm competition in cloud gaming.
The CMA concluded that cloud gaming needs to continue as a free, competitive market to drive innovation and choice in this rapidly evolving sector.
Should this deal go through, Activision/Blizzard/King will be acquired by Microsoft/Xbox, and its entire library of titles could likely end up on the Xbox and PC Game Pass, and Call of Duty could finally make its way to Nintendo consoles.
What do you think about the Microsoft Activision Deal and the EU approving it? Are you for or against it? Let us know in the comments.