EU Commission clears Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision

Photo credit: Christian Lue

The European Commission has cleared Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The EU Commission says the approval is conditional on “full compliance with the commitments offered by Microsoft”. These commitments wholeheartedly address the concerns expressed According to European regulators, the Commission will issue an opinion on the state of cloud gaming if the takeover of Microsoft and Activision goes through. Despite EU approval, UK regulators are still opposed to the deal and US authorities have raised monopoly concerns.

Regulators around the world have raised concerns about the cash deal, which would consolidate several major gaming brands under the Microsoft/Xbox umbrella. Sony rejected the deal for its PlayStation platform, but the EU Commission concluded that the deal would not impede the gaming market even if Microsoft decided to remove the Call of Duty franchise from the PlayStation platform. Microsoft has inked a ten-year deal with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to its platforms – and is offering the same deal to Sony as well.

The Federal Trade Commission is taking Microsoft to court to block the deal. The trial before the FTC’s internal judge is scheduled to begin on August 2. The FTC filed a complaint in December 2022 to prevent Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard.

“The FTC cited Microsoft’s track record of acquiring and deploying valuable gaming content to quell competition from competing consoles, including its acquisition of ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda Softworks (game series developer). The Elder Scrolls and Fallout). “Microsoft has decided to make several Bethesda titles, including Starfield and Redfall, exclusive Microsoft titles, despite assurances to European antitrust authorities that it has no incentive to withhold games from competing consoles,” read the FTC’s complaint .

“Today we want to prevent Microsoft from taking control of a leading independent games studio and using it to harm competition in several dynamic and fast-growing games markets.” adds Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s competition office.