Microsoft has gone through with its acquisition of video game giant, Activision Blizzard. The news came seven hours after Britain’s competition watchdog finally gave its approval to the company. This allowed Microsoft to carry out the deal. Back in April, the merger had been blocked in the United Kingdom because of British antitrust regulators, after being announced 15 months prior in January 2022.
With the removal of the last potential hurdle in its way, Microsoft has now fully taken over the studios behind some of gaming’s largest titles, including Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft. Activision Blizzard’s large assortment of games ranges from MMORPGs to FPS titles, and even card games like Hearthstone. These additions will do much to bolster Microsoft’s Game Pass service, which essentially works like Netflix for games.
The entire deal took a total of 22 months to finally get approved. This is largely due to concerns raised by both rivals and government regulators. This is primarily because of the sheer size and scope of the entire transaction. There were fears that Microsoft would lessen the competition by growing its collection of games to such a large degree. Despite some concerns, Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, seems hopeful. He said in a statement:
Whether you play on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, PC or mobile, you are welcome here – and will remain welcome, even if Xbox isn’t where you play your favorite franchise. Because when everyone plays, we all win. We believe our news today will unlock a world of possibilities for more ways to play.”
The Competition and Markets Authority of the UK added that the issues that led them to block the original bid have been addressed. Under this revised deal, Microsoft has given the rights to distribute Activision games on consoles and PCs over the cloud to Ubisoft. That said, Microsoft will continue to control major franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush, as these form the bulk of the company’s revenue.
- Microsoft-Activision Merger Provisionally Approved By The CMA, Final Ruling On October 18
- PlayStation Boss Says He Wants To Block Microsoft’s Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard
- Microsoft Will Give Activision-Blizzard Cloud Streaming Rights To Ubisoft
The CMA also mentioned that the deal would preserve competitive prices in the gaming industry. It’d also lead to better choices and services overall. However, despite the bid going through, the watchdog criticized Microsoft’s tactics and conduct over the past two years. It mentioned that the manner in which the company behaved was no way to engage with the Competition and Markets Authority.
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