UK Regulators Give Green Light to Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

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After receiving official approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, Microsoft is poised to complete its acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This move signifies a significant development in the gaming industry, as two major players join forces. In April, the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) prevented a deal due to concerns regarding cloud gaming. As a result, Microsoft had to sell the cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard games outside of the European Economic Area to Ubisoft for the next 15 years.

According to a statement by the CMA, Microsoft made a concession in August of this year. As part of this concession, Ubisoft would be acquiring Activision’s cloud gaming rights, instead of Microsoft. “This new deal will put the cloud streaming rights–outside the EEA–for all of Activision’s PC and console content produced over the next 15 years in the hands of a strong and independent competitor with ambitious plans to offer new ways of accessing that content.”

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) aims to prevent Microsoft from monopolizing the cloud gaming market, which is rapidly growing in popularity. By doing so, they seek to create a more competitive landscape that benefits consumers and encourages innovation in the industry. Microsoft president Brad Smith expressed gratitude for the thorough review and decision of the UK watchdog, the CMA, following their approval. He also acknowledged that this marks an important milestone as Microsoft enters a new chapter in their ownership of Activision Blizzard. Additionally, Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick congratulated his staff on the exciting transition under Microsoft’s ownership. Following the anticipated closure of the Microsoft deal, it is expected that the controversial CEO will be departing from the company.

Nasdaq exchanges have temporarily halted trading in Activision Blizzard shares, indicating that Microsoft is nearing the completion of their deal with the company. Although Microsoft is currently facing a new case from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that aims to halt their deal and subject it to an in-house trial, it is improbable that the acquisition will be prevented. This is due to the FTC already suffering a significant legal defeat in July, suggesting a favorable outcome for Microsoft’s acquisition plans.

After the completion of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the company will gain ownership of a diverse portfolio of intellectual properties (IPs). This includes popular titles such as Call of Duty, Diablo, Overwatch, and even Candy Crush. According to Activision president Rob Kostich, the Call of Duty franchise is expected to thrive in the current era thanks to its collaboration with Microsoft. With access to Microsoft’s extensive resources, the franchise will be able to offer even more immersive gaming experiences. Fans of the Call of Duty series can expect to enjoy new releases on PlayStation consoles for the next decade. However, for Game Pass subscribers, it may take some time before Call of Duty titles are widely available on the subscription service, possibly not until 2025.

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