Britain’s competition watchdog has approved Microsoft’s $69bn (£55bn) acquisition of Call of Duty creator Activision Blizzard.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision could proceed after Microsoft made concessions in August related to Activision’s cloud gaming.
The US tech giant tabled a revised deal to the UK regulator after it blocked the original deal to protect consumer choice in cloud gaming.
Under the new agreement, Microsoft surrendered their cloud rights to existing Activision games such as Call of Duty or any new games released during the next 15 years.
“The new deal will stop Microsoft from locking up competition in cloud gaming as this market takes off, preserving competitive prices and services for UK cloud gaming customers,” the CMA said in a statement.
“With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market,” says Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA.
“As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services and more choice. We are the only competition agency globally to have delivered this outcome.”
It means the companies can sign and dot the line, since the EU and US antitrust regulators have also given their nods of approval.
Martin Coleman, Chair of the Independent Panel who reviewed the original Microsoft deal, said that regulators in the UK, EU and US were in agreement that the deal could undermine the potential development of cloud gaming.
“Where we differ is on how we solve that problem. We rejected a solution put to us by the parties which would have left Microsoft with too much control,” Coleman said.
The CMA did identify “limited residual concerns” with the new deal, but Microsoft gave undertakings that will ensure that the terms of the sale of Activision’s rights to Ubisoft are enforceable by the CMA.