Microsoft has successfully concluded its long and arduous journey to acquire Activision Blizzard in a deal worth US $68.7 billion. The acquisition was marred by legal battles and regulatory obstacles, with the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) being the most significant hurdle. Initially, the CMA blocked the deal due to anti-competitive concerns. However, following Microsoft’s appeal and a series of offers, the CMA changed its stance and granted approval for the acquisition. On Friday, the CMA’s decision was made public, allowing Microsoft to proceed with the acquisition. The confirmation came through an SEC filing shortly after the announcement.

The CMA, in its original investigation, expressed apprehension about Microsoft’s dominant position in cloud gaming and its potential control over Activision Blizzard’s cloud streaming rights. To alleviate these concerns, Microsoft made significant concessions. One of the key conditions of the deal was the transfer of Activision Blizzard’s game streaming rights to Ubisoft. This move prevents Microsoft from having exclusive control over popular titles such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft in the realm of cloud gaming. The CMA acknowledged that these offered concessions substantially addressed their initial concerns, leading to the approval of the acquisition.

With the regulatory hurdles now cleared, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are charting a course for a combined future. The immediate impact of the acquisition is evident – Microsoft now owns the entire games library of Activision Blizzard. This includes iconic franchises like Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Diablo, Candy Crush, and Warcraft. While the precise implications for individual studios remain uncertain, it is likely that changes will start to manifest in the following months. An indication of this is the confirmation from Microsoft that Activision Blizzard’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, will only continue in his role until the end of 2023, facilitating the company’s transition into this new phase. It is reasonable to anticipate further transformations in the near future.

Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Head of Gaming, expressed optimism about the acquisition in a blog post, stating, “As one team, we’ll learn, innovate, and continue to deliver on our promise to bring the joy and community of gaming to more people.” Microsoft’s vision of expanding access to gaming aligns with the vast user base of Activision Blizzard’s popular titles, and this collaboration opens up new possibilities for the industry. With their combined expertise and resources, they have the potential to reshape the gaming landscape, innovate in the realm of cloud gaming, and create immersive experiences for players worldwide.

Microsoft’s successful acquisition of Activision Blizzard marks a significant milestone in the gaming industry. Overcoming regulatory challenges and addressing anti-competitive concerns through concessions paved the way for this historic deal. As Microsoft and Activision Blizzard move forward together, the future of gaming appears promising with a united vision of delivering joy and community to an ever-expanding audience.


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