Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal just cleared a major hurdle
Microsoft has struggled to get its acquisition of Call of Duty maker Activision Blizzard approved, but it has just cleared a major hurdle. The UK’s CMA, which previously blocked the acquisition due to concerns about its impact on the cloud gaming market, said it had “provisionally concluded” that Microsoft had resolved its biggest issues with the acquisition.
Namely, he appreciates that Microsoft cedes cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft. “The pre-sale of cloud gaming rights will make Ubisoft a key content provider for cloud gaming services, replicating the role that Activision would have played in the market as an independent player,” explained the CMA in a Press release. “Contrary to the original agreement, Microsoft will no longer control cloud gaming rights for Activision content, and therefore will not be able to limit access to key Activision content to its own cloud gaming service or to refuse these games to its competitors.”
Its press release also reveals that Ubisoft will have the option to allow “Microsoft to port Activision games to operating systems other than Windows and to support game emulators on demand.” Essentially, it’s fortunate that Microsoft no longer has an iron grip on Activision Blizzard games outside of the Xbox ecosystem and is closer to supporting the deal because of it. Of course, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are quite happy with it.
“We are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA review process,” said the Microsoft president. Brad Smith tweeted. “We have presented solutions that we believe fully address the CMA’s remaining concerns regarding cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work to obtain closing approval before the October 18 deadline.”
Meanwhile, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson provided Digital Trends with the following statement: “The CMA’s preliminary approval is great news for our future with Microsoft. We are pleased that the CMA has responded positively to the solutions proposed by Microsoft, and we look forward to working with Microsoft to complete the regulatory review process..”
A final decision from the CMA is expected to be made by October 6. As Smith mentioned, Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is expected to be completed by October 18.