UK Government Approves $69bn Microsoft/Activision Deal

September 22, 2023
Activision Headquarters

Big news in the gaming world today as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) finally approves a new deal for Microsoft’s buyout of Activision.

In April, the CMA blocked the buyout citing concerns about competition in cloud gaming. Despite the deal making it through U.S. Trade Commission courts, as well as approval by regulators in the E.U., the CMA rejected the original terms citing a danger towards innovation and competition in the UK. The C.M.A. said a merger between the maker of a top-selling console and the publisher of hit games threatened to stunt the development of the emerging area of cloud gaming technology.

All activision games will be added to game pass.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer indicated work would need to be done to get Activision Blizzard’s games on Game Pass once the deal closes.

A New Deal for Activision

Activision agreed to sell “Call of Duty”‘s streaming rights to Ubisoft Entertainment in a new attempt to win over the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA said on Friday that the Ubisoft divestment “substantially addresses previous concerns”.

“While the CMA has identified limited residual concerns with the new deal, Microsoft has put forward remedies which the CMA has provisionally concluded should address these issues,” the regulator said.

This is only a preliminary decision, and final approval will be confirmed on October 18th. The regulator said it is now holding a “consultation” through Oct. 6 about the remedies Microsoft has proposed before making a final decision on whether to approve the deal.

Changes to the new approved deal include selling Activision’s cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft. It also includes agreements with Sony concerning the distribution of Activision games on PlayStation.

The extended deadline for the final approval of the deal is October 18th. Without any hurdles left, it’s almost certain the deal will take place. Microsoft president Brad Smith speaks about the deal: ” We will continue to work towards earning approval to close prior to the October 18 deadline.”

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