Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision blocked by UK regulator
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has ruled against Microsoft’s deal to acquire Blizzard Entertainment for $68.7 billion. According to the CMA, the potential deal for Blizzard Entertainment would make Microsoft a dominant player in cloud gaming while stifling competition and leaving UK gamers with fewer choices for years to come.
Cloud gaming needs a free and competitive market to drive innovation and choice. Microsoft already enjoys a powerful position and a head start over other competitors in cloud gaming and this deal would reinforce that advantage by giving it the ability to undermine new, innovative competitors. – Martin Coleman, CMA Committee Chair
The CMA estimates that Microsoft accounts for 60-70% of global cloud gaming services through Windows and its Xbox portfolio and also notes the possibility of Microsoft making Call of Duty games exclusive to its Xbox Game Pass service as the big hurdle that would drive at an unfair advantage over competitors.
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will appeal the CMA’s decision to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, with both parties remaining committed to the acquisition. There are similar objections from the EU Antitrust Commission, so we’ll have to wait and see if the biggest deal in games actually falls.
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