European Union regulators granted approval on Monday for Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of gaming company Activision Blizzard, valued at $69 billion. However, this approval is subject to certain conditions proposed by the U.S. tech giant.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the E.U., stated that Microsoft had offered remedies in the emerging field of cloud gaming, effectively addressing concerns related to antitrust. These remedies mainly enable users to stream Activision games purchased on any cloud streaming platform.
The European approval is a significant victory for Microsoft, especially after the U.K.’s top competition authority blocked the deal last month.
Regulators worldwide have been investigating whether Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision could lead to distorted competition in the console and cloud gaming market. One particular concern raised by regulators was the possibility of Microsoft making Activision games exclusive to its platforms.
Activision is responsible for some of the most popular console and P.C. games globally, including the renowned Call of Duty franchise and World of Warcraft.
The E.U.’s decision follows the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority’s move to block the deal due to concerns about reduced competition in the emerging cloud gaming market. The CMA expressed the view that Microsoft would have a commercial incentive to make Activision’s major games, such as Call of Duty, exclusively available on its own cloud gaming platforms. However, the CMA clarified that the acquisition would not negatively impact competition in the console market.
Microsoft has faced opposition from regulators and competitors, including Sony, the maker of the PlayStation games console.
Microsoft President Brad Smith held discussions with E.U. officials in February to address the concerns raised by the commission regarding the exclusivity of Activision games. Following these talks, Microsoft announced its plans to bring Xbox P.C. games to Nvidia’s cloud gaming service. It is worth noting that Nvidia had reportedly expressed opposition to the acquisition.
Moreover, Microsoft has also struck a 10-year agreement with Nintendo to ensure the availability of the Call of Duty franchise on the Japanese gaming company’s platforms, provided that the Activision deal is complete.