Microsoft has finally received final approval from the European Commission for the acquisition of Activision Blizzard. It comes just weeks after UK regulators blocked the acquisition.
The EU regulator ruled that if the deal closed, Microsoft “would have no incentive to stop distributing Activision games for Sony” and that “even if Microsoft did decide to pull Activision games from the PlayStation, it would not significantly harm competition in the console market.”
However, EU regulators, like those in the UK, have concluded that the acquisition could harm competition in the distribution of PC and console games through cloud gaming services. In this regard, the European Commission approved the concessions that went to Microsoft in the form of 10-year licensing agreements for competitors. There will also be a free license for consumers in the EU that will allow streaming through “any cloud game streaming service of their choice” of all current and future Activision Blizzard games for PC and consoles.
Now Microsoft will have to cope with the opposition of regulators in the UK and the US. Regulators in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Chile, Serbia, Japan and South Africa have already approved the deal. China, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia are still considering a deal.
Microsoft announced a deal to buy video game publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion over a year ago in January 2022.