Microsoft's Activision Acquisition Gets UK Approval
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UK regulators have given the nod to Microsoft's proposed acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard, creators of popular games like "Call of Duty." The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) granted approval after the companies decided to relinquish specific cloud gaming rights.
This compromise, termed a "game-changer" by the CMA, aims to facilitate competitive pricing and enhanced services. Although the merger was unveiled by Microsoft in early 2022, it faced a roadblock in April when the UK competition authority opposed it.
The CMA was the last global regulator to oppose the monumental $69 billion deal. Concerns were primarily rooted in the fear that Microsoft might make Activision’s titles exclusive to its platforms, subsequently hiking subscription prices and limiting gamers' choices.
Addressing these concerns, Microsoft and Activision revised the deal in August. They suggested a modified merger allowing the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights outside the EU and in three other European nations to competitor Ubisoft Entertainment. This adjustment convinced the CMA, hinting last month at a likely approval of the altered acquisition.
This recent development ensures Microsoft won't monopolize the cloud gaming market and assures that cloud gaming services can utilize non-Windows OS for Activision games, leading to reduced costs and improved efficiency.
Activision Blizzard, a major player in the gaming realm, is responsible for hits like "World of Warcraft" and "Overwatch." Microsoft, known for its Xbox console and services like Xbox Game Pass and cloud-based gaming, hopes this acquisition will position them more formidably against industry leaders Tencent and Sony.
Expressing gratitude, Microsoft President Brad Smith commented on X (previously Twitter), appreciating the CMA's comprehensive evaluation and noting that this marked the final step before finalizing the acquisition.
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