Arguably the largest ongoing conversation in the gaming industry over the past year has been whether or not Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard should and will go through. Causing concerns of anti-trust practices and monopolization, Microsoft has been fighting to get the deal to close while others, such as Sony, fight for the opposite. Now, UK regulators have come to a decision, voting to block Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal.
The news broke this morning that the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority would move to block Microsoft’s blockbuster acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty, Overwatch, and countless other games. In the official press release, the CMA actually reveals the driving concern behind its decision: cloud gaming.
The release refers to the fact that cloud gaming has exploded in popularity lately, tripling its monthly active users in the UK from the start of 2021 to the end of 2022. With cloud gaming trending upward fast, the CMA is most concerned about how Microsoft may gatekeep its popular new IP on its own services.
Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith has confirmed that Microsoft will appeal the CMA’s ruling. “We remain fully committed to this acquisition and will appeal. The CMA’s decision rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns and discourages technology innovation and investment in the United Kingdom.”
Microsoft has tried relentlessly to assuage anti-competitive concerns surrounding its Activision Blizzard acquisition in recent months. The company signed 10-year deals to bring Call of Duty titles to the Boosteroid and Ubitus cloud gaming services and even inked a decade-long deal to put CoD on Nintendo platforms.
With Microsoft set to appeal, this saga could very likely roll into 2024. Stick with Shacknews for the latest updates on Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal.