Microsoft is now closer than ever before to acquiring Activision Blizzard.
The Redmond, California-based tech giant recently managed to convince the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard won’t harm competition, especially Sony.
The CMA is one of the first – if not the first – markets regulator in the world to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard in 2022 with its provisional findings.
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UK CMA Findings Reversal Details
The CMA mentioned through its latest statements on the matter that it finds that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in console gaming in the UK.
The government watchdog explained that it had received a “significant amount” of new evidence in response to its original provisional findings, which stated that the deal could “substantially lessen competition in gaming, consoles, multi-game subscription services, and cloud gaming services.”
Additionally, the regulator believes it wouldn’t be commercially beneficial for Microsoft to make the popular Call of Duty series an Xbox exclusive as doing so would be “significantly loss-making under any plausible scenario.
Though the regulator didn’t disclose the evidence Microsoft presented to convince it, Microsoft is not as discreet in its arguments to get regulators to green-light its acquisition of Activision. You may remember that Microsoft argued that it doesn’t plan on making the Call of Duty series an Xbox exclusive, as doing so would only hurt itself and the gaming industry as a whole.
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The tech giant previously explained that prohibiting Activision Blizzard from distributing Call of Duty games to rival console stores wouldn’t be profitable for both companies; it would only be profitable if the game in question could attract enough gamers to the Xbox ecosystem to offset the losses from not selling games on rival consoles.
Microsoft also argued that Call of Duty players are unlikely to switch to the Xbox to access future Call of Duty games should the company decide to make it exclusive. The company’s commissioned survey from international research data and analytics group YouGov found that only 3% of all PlayStation users would move from the PlayStation to Xbox if the deal pulled through, while 10.5% of big Call of Duty players would be willing to move consoles.
Microsoft did more than just present its findings, however. The company also penned a few contracts with Nintendo and NVIDIA to assure regulators that it wouldn’t restrict its competitors’ access to Activision Blizzard and Call of Duty games.
CMA’s Final Decision
While the CMA changed its provisionary findings on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it has yet to release a final decision if it would still block the former company from acquiring the latter.
Eurogamer reports that the CMA would announce its final decision after a month of deliberation; the regulator would reveal its decision on Apr. 26.
Regardless of the wait, the CMA’s change of tune is a positive conclusion for Microsoft and its investors, with the company’s shares soaring up to more than 5% in morning trading after surging more than 7% to a new 52-week high, per CNBC.
Sony has yet to comment on the development.
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