Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been approved by the European Commission. However, the approval is conditional as Xbox has to fully comply with several of its commitments to the cloud gaming market.
The ruling from the EC comes in light of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocking the deal from going through – a position it still remains firm on. However, the European Commission has conditionally approved the acquisition. The EC’s investigation into the deal has found that it will not harm rival consoles and rival multi-game services, though it could harm competition in cloud gaming streaming services.
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Microsoft responded to the European Commission’s concerns by offering licensing agreements with a 10-year duration (via Video Games Chronicle):
- A free license to consumers in the EEA that would allow them to stream, via any cloud game streaming services of their choice, all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games for which they have a license.
- A corresponding free license to cloud game streaming service providers to allow EEA-based gamers to stream any Activision Blizzard’s PC and console games.
The Commission provided a statement on the approval of the acquisition, stating:
“These licenses will ensure that gamers that have purchased one or more Activision games on a PC or console store, or that have subscribed to a multi-game subscription service that includes Activision games, have the right to stream those games with any cloud game streaming service of their choice and play them on any device using any operating system. The commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation.”
Meanwhile, the CMA ruled against allowing the deal to go through mainly because it was unhappy with Microsoft’s proposed solutions to cloud gaming concerns, suggesting that the acquisition would significantly impact the cloud gaming market. Microsoft president Brad Smith issued a statement showing the company’s commitment to these guidelines:
“The European Commission has required Microsoft to license popular Activision Blizzard games automatically to competing cloud gaming services. This will apply globally and will empower millions of consumers worldwide to play these games on any device they choose.”
The US FTC remains one of the larger regulators that has yet to provide a verdict on the acquisition, though reports claim that a ruling will be passed in the coming weeks or months.
Source: Video Games Chronicle