Office EU Commission Microsoft Activision acquisition

Photo Credit: Christian Lue

Office The European Commission has approved the proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft.

The EU Commission says the approval is conditional on “full compliance with the commitments offered by Microsoft.” These commitments fully address concerns raised by the Commission concerning the state of cloud gaming should the Microsoft and Activision acquisition follow through, according to European regulators. Despite the approval from the EU, British regulators are still against the deal and U.S. authorities are raising monopoly concerns. 

Regulators across the globe have raised concerns about the all-cash deal, which would consolidate several major gaming brands under the Microsoft/Xbox umbrella. Sony has opposed the deal for its PlayStation platform, but the EU Commission found that the deal would not hinder the gaming market even if Microsoft decided to pull the Call of Duty franchise from the PlayStation platform. Microsoft struck a ten-year deal with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to its platforms—offering the same deal to Sony. 

The Federal Trade Commission is taking Microsoft to court to block the deal, with a trial before the FTC’s in-house judge slated to begin August 2. The FTC issued a complaint on December 2022 seeking to block Microsoft from acquiring Activision Blizzard. 

“The FTC pointed to Microsoft’s record of acquiring and using valuable gaming content to suppress competition from rival consoles, including its acquisition of ZeniMax, parent company of Bethesda Softworks (developer of game series The Elder Scrolls & Fallout). Microsoft decided to make several of Bethesda’s titles including Starfield and Redfall Microsoft exclusive titles, despite all assurances it had given to European antitrust authorities that it had no incentive to withhold games from rival consoles,” the FTC says in its complaint. 

“Today we week to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets,” adds Holly Vedova, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.