Microsoft has managed to allay EU concerns about its acquisition of Activision Blizzard by getting a reassuring green light. The $68.7 billion deal still has hurdles to clear, having recently been blocked by a UK regulator and the US FTC, which still isn’t quite up to the task.
The EU approval came with a condition: Microsoft must grant competing cloud gaming services a 10-year license to stream Activision games. Microsoft Vice President Brad Smith published the following:
Apparently, it was this key promise that convinced the European Commission. Microsoft has its own game streaming service, of course, but users of competing services around the world are now guaranteed access to current and future Activision games for PC and consoles. Is.
Interestingly, concerns from EU and UK regulators focused on the broadcasting sector. The investigation found that Microsoft had no incentive to refuse to distribute Activision games on the Sony PlayStation (citing the statistic that there are four PlayStation consoles for every Xbox in the European Economic Area).
Even if Microsoft removed Activision’s games from Sony’s consoles, “it would not harm competition in the console market.” And those games will be available to play on non-Microsoft online streaming services anyway, according to the deal.
There’s also the FTC, although it’s possible Microsoft could go ahead with the deal without its approval, as Microsoft attorney Beth Wilkinson said the deal could go through without it. However, this could be based on getting approval from British and EU regulators, with the UK Competition and Markets Authority saying “no”.
In addition to the European Union, Microsoft has the green light from Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Chile, South Africa and Serbia. Whether Microsoft’s commitment to the EU will influence the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) remains to be seen.
In addition to government regulators, some of Microsoft’s competitors are skeptical about the deal. However, Nintendo signed a 10-year deal that ensured same-day releases for major titles like Call of Duty. Other companies that have signed 10-year deals are Nvidia, Ubitus and Boostroid.