On Monday, May 15, the European Commission gave its approval to Microsoft to acquire video game developer Activision Blizzard, a deal worth up to $69 billion. It’s a glimmer of hope, less than a month after UK regulators blocked the takeover over fears it could stifle competition.
The European Commission announced that it would only authorize the deal once Microsoft agreed to allow players to enjoy Activision games on other online services.
The commission said in a statement that Microsoft’s commitments “fully address competition concerns” raised by regulators, providing a formidable tool for Microsoft in its quest to remain competitive against Nintendo and Sony.
The Microsoft-Activision deal still faces many hurdles outside the European Union. UK Competition and Markets Authority (UK)Competition and Markets Authority) announced that it would block the deal, fearing it would stifle competition in the emerging cloud gaming industry (Activision is an industry giant, developing video game franchises such as Call of duty And World of Warcraft).
Microsoft has also faced legal hurdles in the US, following the lawsuit it filed in December Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to block the deal due to concerns about anti-competitive practices. According to some experts, this deal would “eliminate” Xbox competitors in the “rapidly growing cloud content and gaming sector”.
Although Microsoft has obtained EU approval, it is not enough to give the tech giant the final green light to complete the acquisition. Microsoft’s recent cloud gaming franchises may see it push ahead with its appeal in the US, though it may be a hard pill to swallow in Britain, where competition and markets authority rulings are rarely overturned. The New York Times. An evidentiary hearing in the FTC complaint is scheduled for August 2, while Microsoft’s appeal against the UK regulators’ decision could take months, according to the edge.
Microsoft announced the acquisition early last year, marking the largest deal in its history, although it raised concerns from competitors, including Sony, which said it feared PlayStation users would not be able to play Activision games. In December, Microsoft offered Sony a ten-year deal for games Call of duty of Activision available simultaneously on two consoles, while the head of Microsoft, Brad SmithHe claimed it would be “good for gamers” in a column published in Wall Street Journal.
However, regulators’ main concern with the process stems from the advent of cloud gaming, which gives gamers the ability to play popular video games online without having to purchase expensive consoles like the Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch. Last month, the UK regulator said Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision “would risk undermining innovation” by denying gamers that option when playing games produced by Activision, and would “weaken the future of the burgeoning cloud gaming market,” though Microsoft disputes the claim. The European Commission also ruled that the deal could not “significantly harm competition in the console market”, at least in Europe, even if Microsoft removed Activision games from PlayStation.
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Brian Bouchard
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