EU agrees with billion dollar deal Microsoft and Activision Blizzard


Activision Blizzard at a trade show in LA

Microsoft has gotten a windfall in its attempts to acquire game publisher Activision Blizzard. The European Commission has decided that the deal may go ahead. A striking step, the British regulator took another at the end of April strike through the takeover. Also the US regulator is against.

In a preliminary investigation, the committee had concluded that the takeover could lead to unfair competition, including in the field of game distribution. A more extensive investigation was then launched, which showed that the deal could have adverse consequences for, among others cloud gaming. In addition, games can be streamed to a device, just like music or movies. So you don’t have to have a heavy game computer at home.

Microsoft, the owner of game console Xbox, has made commitments. Consumers in the EU will have the right to stream current and future Activision Blizzard games on any conceivable platform of their choice if they have a license to do so. It also means that the platforms get a free license to offer games to consumers within the EU. The agreements are valid for ten years.

The commission says Microsoft’s concessions “fully address” the regulator’s concerns and are a “significant improvement.”

Concerns about cloud gaming

The British watchdog said last month that it was concerned about the future of cloud gaming. “Microsoft already has a powerful position and a competitive edge in cloud gaming,” said Martin Coleman, who led the British investigation. The acquisition will strengthen that lead, Coleman said.

Brad Smith, President at Microsoft, then reacted at the BBC furiously on the British decision. He called it Microsoft’s “darkest day” in the company’s four decades of operation in the UK. “There’s a clear message here: the EU is a more attractive place to start a business than the UK.”

A spokesman for Prime Minister Sunak told British broadcaster Smith was wrong. “These kinds of claims are not based on the facts.”

Although the decision of the European Commission is good news for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, it does not mean that the acquisition can be completed. The two companies face a major legal battle in the US and UK.

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