In a twist, the E.U. approved the Microsoft-Activision deal today, in stunning contradiction to the CMA in the UK.
Today, European antitrust regulators, the European Commission, weighed in on the Microsoft takeover of Activision Blizzard. Since announced, the acquisition has seen a series of hurdles, with the last notable moment being the CMA ruling against the merger in the U.K. Now, in what seems to be a twist in the saga, the EU regulator has approved the takeover with conditions.
According to the European Commission:
The Commission’s in-depth market investigation indicated that Microsoft would not be able to harm rival consoles and rival multi-game subscription services. At the same time, it confirmed that Microsoft could harm competition in the distribution of games via cloud game streaming services and that its position in the market for PC operating systems would be strengthened.
The second section is taken care of by commitments Microsoft has already made to video game streaming platforms. According to the commission, the company must provide:
A free license to consumers in the EEA that would allow them to stream, via any cloud game streaming services of their choice, all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games for which they have a license.
A corresponding free license to cloud game streaming service providers to allow EEA-based gamers to stream any Activision Blizzard’s PC and console games.
According to the report, these commitments must be made for at least 10 years. This creates an interesting dynamic and conflict between the ruling found by the U.K. regulator, which Microsoft is appealing now, and the EU — a conflict that greatly impacts the future of both companies.
We’ll be following this story in our news section.