Microsoft just got one step closer to completing the acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. While the company is still facing stiff opposition from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, the companies this week won approval from the European Union Commission (EU).
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said Microsoft had offered solutions in the emerging area of cloud gaming that had been enough to allay antitrust concerns. These solutions are centered on allowing users to stream the Activision games they purchase on any cloud streaming platform.
Europe’s green light is a big win for Microsoft after the UK’s top competition authority blocked the deal last month.
Regulators around the world have been investigating whether Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision could distort competition in the console and cloud gaming market. One area that regulators have questioned is whether Microsoft can take Activision’s games and keep them exclusively on the US giant’s own platforms.
In its report, the EU Commission concluded that the acquisition of Activision would not reduce competition in the console market, due to Sony’s dominance with the PlayStation.
EU regulators found that Microsoft would hurt competition in distributing PC and console games through cloud gaming services as a result of the acquisition. One way to hurt competition would be for Microsoft to make those Activision games exclusive to its own platform, the Commission said.
Despite this, the European Commission said Microsoft had offered solutions to allay competition concerns. Consumers who have purchased or will purchase a game from Activision will be able to stream those titles on any cloud gaming platform of their choice. Microsoft will also offer royalty-free licenses to cloud gaming platforms to stream Activision games if a consumer has purchased them. The idea is that players don’t necessarily have to stream the game where they buy it.
A senior European Commission official told reporters on Monday that the move would increase competition in the market and allow streaming platforms that previously lacked access to Activision games to now have them.
For now, it remains to be seen how the European Commission’s approval will impact the FTC process and the appeal that will be made to the CMA.
Serpa that Microsoft will finally be able to finalize the merger?