Microsoft’s $68.7 Billion Activision Deal Cleared in UK

The UK’s CMA has greenlit Microsoft’s adjusted proposal addressing concerns about cloud gaming market dominance….reports Asian Lite News

The UK’s anti-trust watchdog on Friday cleared the restructured deal for Microsoft to buy gaming giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, after it concluded that the new deal would preserve competitive prices and better services.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) accepted a restructured Microsoft’s proposal that addresses the CMA’s concerns about Microsoft dominating the cloud gaming market.

In August this year, Microsoft made a concession that would see Ubisoft, instead of Microsoft, buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights. 

“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,” said the CMA in a statement.

The new deal will stop Microsoft from locking up competition in cloud gaming as this market takes off, preserving competitive prices and services for UK cloud gaming customers. 

It will allow Ubisoft to offer Activision’s content under any business model, including through multigame subscription services. 

It will also help to ensure that cloud gaming providers will be able to use non-Windows operating systems for Activision content, reducing costs and increasing efficiency, the UK’s market regulator noted.

“We delivered a clear message to Microsoft that the deal would be blocked unless they comprehensively addressed our concerns and stuck to our guns on that,” said Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA.

With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, “we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market,” Cardell added.  

In August, Microsoft submitted a restructured proposal to UK’s anti-trust watchdog for approval of its acquisition of Activision.

As part of the restructuring, Microsoft will transfer cloud gaming rights for current and new Activision Blizzard games to French video game publisher Ubisoft.

The sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft will prevent the distribution of important, popular content – including games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft – from coming under the control of Microsoft in relation to cloud gaming, said the CMA.

“Cloud gaming is an important new way for gamers to access games and this deal could have seriously undermined its potential development. On that we, the European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission are in full agreement,” said Martin Coleman, Chair of the Independent Panel who reviewed the original Microsoft deal.

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