The massive deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard was given the green light by European Commission officials.
However, the $68.7 million transaction was not accepted unconditionally, as the threshold in question was ultimately an investment related to cloud gaming, which Microsoft has committed to with recent agreements. According to the commission’s report, banning the publication of Activision Blizzard games on Sony’s devices will also not bring any significant benefits to Microsoft. The Commission also considered that their removal from PlayStation services would not significantly harm competition in the console market, although EU authorities, such as the CMA of Great Britain, are of the opinion that the agreement may have a negative impact on the competitive position of PCs. and console games distributed through cloud services.
The European Commission has required Microsoft to automatically license popular Activision Blizzard games to competing cloud gaming services. This will be applicable globally and will empower millions of consumers around the world to play these games on any device they choose.
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) May 15, 2023
According to the European Commission, the acquisition may be due to the 10-year license agreements Microsoft offers to its competitors. The mentioned agreements include, among other things, a free license required by the Commission for customers in EU countries, which allows players to access all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games “through any cloud game service”. stream for which they have obtained the rights, for example, through an Xbox Game Pass subscription or by purchasing the game. In addition, cloud service providers are also provided with a free license to stream the game in the EU market. In the future, the company aims for Activision Blizzard games to be streamed to every screen, regardless of device and operating system. According to Microsoft, this practice should expand to other parts of the world as well.
The EU authorities’ approval decision is surprising, as the British competition and markets authority CMA had halted construction of the agreement on the Mists islands less than a month earlier, despite the fact that the US company had a 10-year agreement to conclude. It was the time of the year contracts related to cloud gaming with Boosteroid, Ubitus, Nvidia and Nintendo. However, the CMA was not speechless when the news broke, as you can see in the tweet below.
Our response to the European Commission’s announcement today on Microsoft/Activation ⬇
– Competition and Markets Authority (@CMAgovUK) May 15, 2023
As expected, Microsoft has also appealed against the UK decision, and in addition, its conversion work is still underway in North America with the FTC. The hearing is to be held on August 2 this year. The deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is still under review in China, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, while countries that have approved the deal include Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Serbia and Japan.
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