EU Approves Microsoft's Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

Microsoft's Bid for Activision Blizzard Approved by European Commission

EU Approves Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard

In a significant development for the gaming industry, the European Commission, part of the executive branch of the European Union, has given its approval to Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This decision, announced on May 15, comes after a thorough investigation and evaluation of the potential competition concerns. The Commission expressed satisfaction with the commitments made by Microsoft to address these concerns and emphasized the positive impact the merger could have on cloud gaming. However, this approval is subject to certain commitments and remedies to safeguard fair competition within the industry.

Background of the Acquisition

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has garnered significant attention globally due to the potential monopolistic implications it carries within the gaming industry. While the UK government’s Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the merger in late April, the European Commission has taken a different stance. The European Commission’s investigation focused on the impact of the merger on rival consoles, multi-game subscription services, and game distribution via cloud gaming.

The European Commission’s Decision and Its Reasoning

Contrary to the CMA’s findings, the European Commission determined that Microsoft would not be able to harm rival consoles or multi-game subscription services. However, it did express concerns regarding competition in the distribution of games through cloud game streaming services. To address these concerns, the Commission outlined several remedies to protect the European cloud gaming industry.

Competition Concerns and Proposed Remedies

The European Commission’s remedies aim to prevent a potential Microsoft monopoly in the industry. One of the key remedies is to provide a free license to consumers in the European Economic Area (EEA), enabling them to stream all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games via any cloud game streaming service of their choice. Additionally, Microsoft must grant a corresponding free license to cloud game streaming providers, allowing EEA-based gamers to stream any Activision Blizzard PC or console game.

These remedies will be binding on Microsoft for a period of 10 years, ensuring fair competition and protecting consumer interests within the European cloud gaming market.

Microsoft'S Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard
Microsoft’S Acquisition Of Activision Blizzard

Implications for the European Cloud Gaming Industry

With Microsoft’s significant presence in the cloud gaming market, the European Commission’s constraints are understandably focused on cloud gaming. The Commission’s approval and the accompanying remedies serve as positive measures for EU citizens, safeguarding their access to a wide range of games through various cloud gaming services. By preventing the formation of a monopoly, these measures aim to maintain a healthy and competitive gaming environment in Europe.

Comparison to the UK Government’s Decision

The European Commission’s approval stands in contrast to the UK government’s decision to block the merger. The CMA’s concerns primarily revolved around the potential harm to competition in the gaming market as a whole. However, the European Commission’s findings focused more specifically on the distribution of games via cloud game streaming services. The varying decisions highlight the nuanced approach taken by different regulatory bodies in assessing the potential impact of the merger.

Potential Influence on the UK Government’s Ruling

The European Commission’s approval of the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard acquisition could have implications for the UK government’s ruling. The European Commission’s decision, along with the outlined remedies, may serve as a model that Microsoft can use to approach the UK government in an attempt to reverse the CMA’s ruling. The approval by the European Commission could potentially embolden Microsoft’s efforts to appeal the decision and seek a different outcome in the UK.

Ongoing Legal Challenges in the United States

While the European Commission’s decision represents a victory for Microsoft, there are still hurdles to overcome. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States has an ongoing lawsuit against the merger. Both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will have to navigate this legal challenge in the coming months. The outcome of the FTC’s suit will undoubtedly play a significant role in determining the ultimate fate of the merger.

Microsoft’s Dominance in the Cloud Gaming Market

The European Commission’s focus on potential monopolistic practices within the cloud gaming market is not unwarranted. The CMA’s investigation revealed that Microsoft occupies a substantial share, estimated at 60-70%, of the cloud gaming market. Such dominance raises concerns about fair competition and the potential for stifling innovation. By addressing these concerns, the European Commission aims to maintain a level playing field and protect the interests of both consumers and industry competitors.

Concluding Remarks

In conclusion, the European Commission’s approval of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard marks a significant development in the gaming industry. With its commitment to address competition concerns and the proposed remedies, Microsoft has demonstrated its willingness to work within the regulatory framework to ensure fair competition and protect consumer interests.

However, the road ahead is not without challenges. The UK government’s ruling and the ongoing lawsuit by the FTC in the United States remain significant hurdles for the merger. The outcome of these legal battles will shape the future landscape of the gaming industry and determine whether Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard comes to fruition.

Overall, the European Commission’s decision represents a battle won for Microsoft, but the war is far from over. It highlights the need for continued vigilance in safeguarding fair competition and fostering innovation within the gaming industry.

To learn more about the EU’s approval of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, you can visit our website for additional information and insights.


TechBeams Team of seasoned technology writers with several years of experience in the field. The team has a passion for exploring the latest trends and developments in the tech industry and sharing their insights with readers. With a background in Information Technology. TechBeams Team brings a unique perspective to their writing and is always looking for ways to make complex concepts accessible to a broad audience.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button