Microsoft just got its first break from the ongoing litigations from multiple parties over its intended acquisition of video game studio and publisher, Activision Blizzard. The owner of the Windows operating system recently gave the thumbs up to the deal.
The EU made the announcement via its official website. It echoed similar concerns of its UK counterpart, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding the harm the Microsoft and Activision deal could do to cloud gaming, but was satisfied with the former’s proposed remedies for them.
“The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard (‘Activision’) by Microsoft. The approval is conditional on full compliance with the commitments offered by Microsoft. The commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation.”
The EU goes on to say that the Commission doesn’t believe that there is an incentive for Microsoft to refuse to distribute any Activision Blizzard games to Sony either, given that the latter is currently the leading distributor of console games globally. It further states that even if Microsoft did decide to withdraw Activision games from PlayStation, it found little evidence that competition within the console market would be harmed.
As for the remedies that Microsoft proposed with its acquisition of Activision, one of its solutions would be a free license to consumers in the EEA, allowing them to stream all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games, via any cloud game streaming service. The second solution? Give that same license to cloud gaming streaming service providers, which includes its rivals.
“Today, Activision Blizzard does not license its games to cloud game streaming services, nor does it stream the games itself. These licenses will ensure that gamers that have purchased one or more Activision games on a PC or console store, or that have subscribed to a multi-game subscription service that includes Activision games, have the right to stream those games with any cloud game streaming service of their choice and play them on any device using any operating system. The remedies also ensure that Activision’s games available for streaming will have the same quality and content as games available for traditional download.”
The EU’s decision to approve the Microsoft acquisition of Activision deal is undoubtedly a step forward but as it stands, the company is still not out of the woods yet. Its current situation in the UK notwithstanding, it still has a hearing with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) later this year.
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