Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition approved by European regulators
The European Commission has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard just weeks after the deal was blocked by regulators in the UK.
Following an in-depth investigation, European regulators have given Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard the green light, saying the “approval is conditional on full compliance with the commitments offered by Microsoft” and that these commitments ” fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation.”
EU regulators approve Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal
The Commission says it has “based its decision on hard evidence, and on extensive information and feedback from competitors and customers, including from game developers and distributors as well as cloud game streaming platforms in the EU.”
After conducting an in-depth market investigation, the Commission found that Microsoft “would not be able to harm rival consoles and rival multi-game subscription services,” but the company could harm competition “in the distribution of games via cloud game streaming services and that its position in the market for PC operating systems would be strengthened.”
To address these concerns, Microsoft offered the following 10-year licensing commitments:
- A free license to consumers in the EEA that would allow them to stream, via any cloud game streaming services of their choice, all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games for which they have a license.
- A corresponding free license to cloud game streaming service providers to allow EEA-based gamers to stream any Activision Blizzard’s PC and console games.
According to the regulator, these commitments, “fully address” the Commission’s competition concerns and “represent a significant improvement for cloud game streaming compared to the current situation.” The regulator also noted that they “will empower millions of EEA consumers to stream Activision’s games using any cloud gaming services operating in the EEA, provided they are purchased in an online store or included in an active multi-game subscription in the EEA.”
The Commission ultimately concluded that the acquisition, with these commitments from Microsoft, “would no longer raise competition concerns and would ultimately unlock significant benefits for competition and consumers.” This decision, it notes, is “conditional upon full compliance with the commitments” and that an independent trustee “will be in charge of monitoring their implementation.”
Last month, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority blocked Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard over concerns that the deal would “alter the future of the fast-growing cloud gaming market, leading to reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers over the years to come.” Microsoft has said it will appeal the CMA’s ruling.