EU regulators approve Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard

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It appears like Microsoft has cleared another difficulty in its long-running quest to obtain Activision Blizzard.

In a press release, the European Commission announced that it has actually authorized the business's $68.7 billion acquisition of the gaming powerhouse, pending Microsoft's desire to satisfy specific conditions that it has actually assured the regulator.

Below are the commission's complete findings after its thorough investigation. It discovered that even if Microsoft made Call of Duty and its other popular franchises special to Xbox and PC, that it would "not considerably harm competition in the consoles market."

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  • Microsoft would have no incentive to decline to distribute Activision's games to Sony, which is the leading supplier of consolevideo games worldwide, consisting of in the European Economic Area (' EEA') where there are four Sony PlayStation consoles for every Microsoft Xbox console purchased by gamers. Indeed, Microsoft would have strong incentives to continue distributing Activision's games via a device as popular as Sony's PlayStation.
  • Even if Microsoft did choose to withdraw Activision's video games from the PlayStation, this would not considerably damage competition in the consoles market. Even if Call of Dutyis mostly used console, it is less popular in the EEA than in other regions of the world, and is less popular in the EEA within its genre compared to other markets. For that reason, even without having the ability to use this specific game, Sony could take advantage of its size, substantial video games catalogue and market position to ward off any effort to damage its competitive position.
  • Even without this transaction, Activision would not have madeits video games offered formulti-game subscription services, as this would cannibalize sales of individual video games. Therefore, the circumstance for third-party service providers of multi-game subscription services would not change after the acquisition of Activision by Microsoft.

However, the commission did find the acquisition would adversely affect competitors in the cloud video gaming industry, a location that Microsoft already has a commanding lead in:

  • The acquisition would harm competition in the circulation of PC and console video games via cloud video game streaming services, an innovative market segment that could transform the way numerous players play video games. Despite its potential, cloud game streaming is extremely minimal today. The Commission discovered that the popularity of Activision's games might promote its growth. Rather, if Microsoft made Activision's games exclusive to its own cloud game streaming service, Game Pass Ultimate, and withheld them from rival cloud video game streaming suppliers, it would decrease competitionin the distribution of video games via cloud video game streaming.
  • If Microsoft made Activision's video games unique to its own cloud game streaming service,Microsoft could also strengthen the position of Windows in the market for PC operating systems. This could be the case, should Microsoft break down the streaming or impede of Activision's games on PCs utilizing operating systems other than Windows.

Microsoft is reportedly pleasing the commission's issue around cloud gaming by dedicating to:

  • A totally free license to customers in the EEAthat would enable them to stream, by means of any cloud video game streaming servicesof their choice, allfuture and current Activision Blizzard PC and console gamesfor which they have a license.
  • A matching complimentary license to cloud game streaming companyto permit EEA-based players to stream any Activision Blizzard's PC and console games.

Today's news comes a couple of weeks after a regulative company in the United Kingdom obstructed the acquisition, setting up another hurdle for Microsoft to leap over in order to complete the deal.

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