The approval brings the Microsoft-owned gaming behemoth one step closer to closing its nearly $70 billion purchase, but there is more work to be done before the deal is finalized.
One step closer to global gaming domination! Xbox’s pending acquisition of the recently controversial game giant Activision Blizzard has been approved by the European Commission (EC).
The EC agrees with many of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decisions on the merger, which determined the deal was harmless to the console industry but may pose a threat to cloud gaming. However, the EC concluded that Microsoft provided sufficient evidence to not only mitigate the potential harm, but actually benefit the industry. The CMA, however, moved to block the deal.
"The commitments [offered by Microsoft] fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming as compared to the current situation," the European Commission stated.
The $68.7 billion purchase would be the largest in in gaming history (move over Sega!), putting iconic game series such as Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Overwatch under the expansive Xbox publishing umbrella. With the move, Microsoft expects to become the third-largest gaming company in terms of revenue, trailing only Tencent and Sony.
“Over many decades, the studios and teams that make up Activision Blizzard have earned vast wellsprings of joy and respect from billions of people all over the world,” said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in a statement. “We are incredibly excited to have the chance to work with the amazing, talented, dedicated people across Activision Publishing, Blizzard Entertainment, Beenox, Demonware, Digital Legends, High Moon Studios, Infinity Ward, King, Major League Gaming, Radical Entertainment, Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, Toys for Bob, Treyarch and every team across Activision Blizzard.”
Microsoft must now appeal the CMA’s decision to block the deal, which will delay the company’s original goal of closing by June 2023. However, triumphing over the CMA is no easy feat. If Microsoft were to be victorious, many additional steps would still need to be made, including winning over the Federal Trade Commission, which also moved to block the deal in December 2022. It’s tough being king!