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The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally approved Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The CMA is a regulatory authority in the United Kingdom responsible for overseeing competition and antitrust matters. It has given its preliminary approval to Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of the Activision Blizzard Group. This means that has no objections to the proposed merger for the time being, but will conduct further investigations.However, the CMA has stressed that it is concerned that this merger could have a negative impact on competition in cloud gaming services.

Cloud gaming refers to playing video games over an Internet connection without having to install the games on your own device. Microsoft is already a major provider of cloud gaming services and the acquisition of Activision Blizzard would strengthen its position in this market. The CMA is currently reviewing responses to its preliminary findings and will continue its merger investigation to submit its final report by April 26, 2023. This means that the final decision on the merger is still pending and will depend on the results of further investigations.

Since February, the antitrust authority’s stance appears to have changed, as it has now allayed its original concerns, due to new evidence that was presented and contributed to the antitrust authority reaching a preliminary conclusion. It is likely that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are relieved about this development, as they probably made significant efforts to justify the acquisition and address concerns. The change in the antitrust authority’s stance is therefore an important milestone in this process. However, it remains to be seen whether the final decision of the antitrust authority will actually be positive. It is entirely possible that other concerns or evidence will emerge that could cause the antitrust authority to change its mind again.

A key factor in this development is the hypothetical idea that the Call of Duty series would be under Microsoft’s ownership. New evidence submitted to the CMA relates to financial incentives by Microsoft to offer Activision games, particularly Call of Duty, exclusively for its own consoles. Although CMA’s original analysis suggested that this strategy would be profitable in most cases, new data providing better insight into the actual purchasing behavior of CoD players shows that this strategy would cause significant losses in any plausible scenario.

Based on these findings, the updated analysis now concludes that it would not make economic sense for Microsoft to offer Call of Duty exclusively for Xbox after the acquisition. Instead, Microsoft still has an incentive to make the game available on PlayStation as well.Microsoft has strongly criticized the CMA’s findings in the past, however the company is now showing enthusiasm for the current ruling. A Microsoft spokesperson told Eurogamer that the CMA’s rigorous and thorough investigation of the evidence is greatly appreciated and they welcome the updated preliminary findings. This agreement will allow more gamers to choose from a wider variety of ways to play Call of Duty and other favorite games. Microsoft looks forward to working with the CMA to resolve any outstanding issues.


Activision Blizzard has expressed its agreement with the preliminary verdict to Eurogamer. They believe the updated preliminary results from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) demonstrate a better understanding of the console market and show a commitment to supporting gamers and competition. Although Sony has tried to protect their supremacy by blocking the merger, Activision Blizzard believes that the facts cannot be refuted. Microsoft has also taken effective steps to address the CMA’s concerns.

Activision Blizzard is confident that the merger will benefit competition, innovation and consumers in the UK. It’s odd that Activision Blizzard mentioned Sony in their statement – however, the statement offers little reassurance when you read it. Soon, eyes will turn to other regulators around the world and theories may emerge presenting new evidence to convince members skeptical of the preliminary acquisition. Microsoft has argued that Sony is financially strong enough to develop their own shooter series to compete with Call of Duty.

Source: TechPowerUp