UK Regulator: Microsoft Activision Deal Likely Won’t Impact Competition

uk regulator says microsoft activision deal likely wont impact competition in console gaming 23032403

The ongoing battle over Microsoft’s tremendous acquisition of Activision Blizzard has had another major developer, as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has essentially “sided” with Microsoft.

For months now, Sony and Microsoft have been trading barbs over the deal, with the former claiming that the deal would provide Microsoft with an unfair monopoly on the console market, especially if it makes the Call of Duty franchise exclusive.

Now the CMA says that new data it’s received “indicates that this strategy would be significantly loss-making under any plausible scenario.” Essentially this means the regulator sees that taking Call of Duty off of PlayStation would negatively impact the sales of the franchise, thus not making it a major factor in the $69 billion deal.

All of this means that the CMA has reduced its overall concerns about the deal, which is undoubtedly good news for Microsoft.

“Provisional findings are a key aspect of the merger process and are explicitly designed to give the businesses involved, and any interested third parties, the chance to respond with new evidence before we make a final decision,” said Martin Coleman, chair of the independent panel conducting this CMA’s investigation.

Uk Regulator Says Microsoft Activision Deal Likely Wont Impact Competition In Console Gaming 23032403 1

“Having considered the additional evidence provided, we have now provisionally concluded that the merger will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in console gaming services because the cost to Microsoft of withholding Call of Duty from PlayStation would outweigh any gains from taking such action.

As a result of this decision, Activision shares have surged, up more than 5% in morning trading in the U.S. on Friday.

This, of course, isn’t the last roadblock Microsoft will need to clear before the deal goes through, and Sony continues to put up resistance.

Sony has called Call of Duty “irreplaceable,” and documents from the CMA earlier this month revealed that the company was worried Microsoft would “sabotage” PlayStation versions of future games with bugs or errors that don’t apply to Xbox versions.

Microsoft itself has committed to making Call of Duty games available on PlayStation for at least the next ten years, with “full feature and content parity.”

While that sounds good on paper, at the same time, a recent interview with Zenimax studio owner, Harvey Smith, claimed that Microsoft cancelled a PS5 version of the upcoming shooter Redfall. In response, a spokesperson for Microsoft told GameSpot the company has not “pulled any games from PlayStation.”

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