Microsoft’s $69bn acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been approved by EU regulators after Microsoft offered some commitments related to cloud gaming. However, the deal is still blocked by UK regulators who have concerns about the impact on competition and innovation. Microsoft is appealing that decision, but the approval in the EU is a major step toward winning that appeal.
In a press release on May 15, the Commission announced that it was satisfied with Microsoft’s “commitments to fully address the competition concerns identified [in its investigation] and [that the merger] represents a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation.
The EU official who spoke on this element of the CMA’s decision noted that: “For us, [cloud gaming is] not a separate market. It’s a segment of the overall market.” While cloud gaming may indeed see growth in the future, with more people accessing it in a variety of ways, it has not yet found firm ground in the current gaming landscape. This is evidenced by the fairly recent shutdown of Google Stadia and the somewhat niche position of Nvidia’s Geforce Now cloud gaming service.
Currently, Microsoft is appealing the CMA's decision to block their Activision Blizzard acquisition and hopes to change the regulator's mind and allow their deal to be completed. While the CMA currently stands by its decision to block the deal, there have been claims that the regulator has made provably wrong assumptions while investigating the impact of the deal.