Microsoft Activision Deal Has Been Approved By The EU Regulator
Just weeks after UK authorities vetoed Microsoft’s $68.7 billion bid to purchase Activision Blizzard, the transaction was cleared by EU regulators. The European Commission has approved the merger because Microsoft made certain concessions on cloud gaming.
It was determined by the European Union that Microsoft “would have no incentive to refuse to distribute Activision’s games to Sony” and that “even if Microsoft did decide to withdraw Activision’s games from the PlayStation, this would not significantly harm competition in the consoles market.”
Users who have bought or subscribed to Activision Blizzard games will automatically be granted the permission to stream such games through “any cloud game streaming service of their choice” and play them “on any device using any operating system.” Microsoft will apparently roll out this automatic license worldwide after being asked to do so by the European Commission.
Our decision represents an important step in this direction, by bringing Activision’s popular games to many more devices and consumers than before thanks to cloud game streaming.
Less than a month after UK authorities vetoed Microsoft’s ambitions, the EU has decided to accept this massive acquisition. The merger was halted by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for fears of monopolization in the cloud gaming business, which the CMA predicted would lead to “reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers in the years to come.” Microsoft plans to appeal the ruling.
Microsoft has spent the better part of the last several months attempting to allay regulators’ fears over cloud gaming; the company’s accords have been successful in the European Union, but not in the United Kingdom. The software giant made agreements with Boosteroid, Ubitus, and NVIDIA to make Xbox PC titles playable on their respective cloud gaming platforms.
Microsoft’s prospects of closing this massive purchase may have been helped by the EU’s vote today, but the business still has to overcome obstacles in the United States and the United Kingdom.