London The British competition authorities now have fewer concerns about the planned mega-takeover of the video game company Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. In a turnaround, the CMA supervisory authority no longer assumes that Microsoft could profitably offer games from Activision Blizzard only for its own Xbox console. However, the possible consequences of the $69 billion deal for the cloud gaming market are still being examined.
Sony in particular warns of the disadvantages for its business with the Playstation console. The CMA wrote on Friday that it had revised its February assessment of the business prospects of an Xbox exclusivity for games like Call of Duty after evaluating new data. In the meantime, Microsoft had criticized the agency’s calculations.
“The updated analysis concluded that making Call of Duty exclusive to Xbox post-deal would not be commercially beneficial for Microsoft,” the CMA said. “Rather, Microsoft will have an incentive to continue making the game available on Playstation.” The software group had already agreed in February that “Call of Duty” would remain with the game streaming service Geforce Now and Nintendo’s Switch game console.
The CMA still plans to deliver its decision in the case on April 26. There is already a hurdle for the takeover in the USA with a lawsuit from the supervisory authority FTC. In her lawsuit in December, she too argued that the acquisition would give Microsoft too much market power and harm competition in the game console business.
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard announced the biggest deal in the gaming industry to date in January 2022. The competition watchdogs of the EU Commission initiated an in-depth review of the takeover.
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