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Despite opposition from the UK CMA, and the ongoing legal battle in the USA, the acquisition of Activision Blizzard takes a step forward as the European Commission has approved it now.

In a press release the EU Commission made it clear that initially, they did feel the deal could "harm competition" in the console and PC gaming space (including cloud gaming). However, after their "in-depth market investigation" they changed their mind and said Microsoft "would not be able to harm rival consoles and rival multi-game subscription services" but that Microsoft could still "harm competition in the distribution of games via cloud game streaming services and that its position in the market for PC operating systems would be strengthened".

So why are they approving it? Microsoft offered up these terms for cloud gaming for 10 years:

  • free license to consumers in the EEA that would allow them to stream, via any cloud game streaming services of their choice, all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games for which they have a license.
  • A corresponding free license to cloud game streaming service providers to allow EEA-based gamers to stream any Activision Blizzard's PC and console games.

Once those were set the EU decided the commitments "fully address the competition concerns identified by the Commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud game streaming compared to the current situation".

The UK CMA are standing firm though, releasing a statement on Twitter in a small thread. To save you clicking around their statement says:

The UK, US and European competition authorities are unanimous that this merger would harm competition in cloud gaming.

The CMA concluded that cloud gaming needs to continue as a free, competitive market to drive innovation and choice in this rapidly evolving sector.

Microsoft’s proposals, accepted by the European Commission today, would allow Microsoft to set the terms and conditions for this market for the next 10 years.

They would replace a free, open and competitive market with one subject to ongoing regulation of the games Microsoft sells, the platforms to which it sells them, and the conditions of sale.

This is one of the reasons the CMA’s independent panel group rejected Microsoft’s proposals and prevented this deal.

While we recognise and respect that the European Commission is entitled to take a different view, the CMA stands by its decision.

We're still multiple months away from seeing what happens overall though, since the US FTC case is still pending.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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37 comments
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Raaben May 15, 2023
Microsoft giving small concessions or promises lasting a few years is nothing compared to what they'd gain in the long term afterwards, esp setting the precedent that they (and others) are free to keep gobbling up everything in sight. I'm still hoping the CMA holds firm on this.
dpanter May 15, 2023
The only one benefiting from the deal is Microsoft, everyone else will suffer. Period. It can't be said simpler than this. They will promise and offer anything to make this happen, just like n amount of times in the past.
Are we really this naive, us humans? ...or did the A.I. uprising already happen and we're just finding out?
Avehicle7887 May 15, 2023
Microsoft will do whatever it takes to get the approvals, and once it gets them they'll be free to workaround the rules how they see fit.

They also said "MS Loves Linux", except that every single article about their contributions to open source only serves their benefits not the Linux userbase as a whole.

The EU is happily feeding the monster with a golden spoon.
Mountain Man May 15, 2023
I ask myself, are politicians smarter than Microsoft's lawyers? And the answer is no.
StoneColdSpider May 15, 2023
I honestly would have been more surprised if the EU blocked it......
Grogan May 15, 2023
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I don't personally care about Blizzard, or Activision (both can take turns riding the bologna pony), it's Bethesda/Zenimax that I'm sore about. I loved their games, and they were adopting Vulkan.

Still this is awful that Microsoft is buying up all these publishers. Everything will be polluted with their middleware and horrid interfaces.
StalePopcorn May 15, 2023
There you go… deep pockets and expensive lawyers. There's no hope.
massatt212 May 15, 2023
Why y'all don't have the same energy for Sony?
Raaben May 15, 2023
Quoting: massatt212Why y'all don't have the same energy for Sony?

I wouldn't want them to either.
stephenseiber420 May 16, 2023
Quoting: massatt212Why y'all don't have the same energy for Sony?
last i check sony doesnt control 95% of the pc gaming market... not to mention microsoft is 2 trillion dollar company and sony is at 120 billion... microsoft is trying to buy a company that is worth half their consule competitor... you can bet if they could buy nintendo or sony they would... but japan would block both mergers outright... and alot of people myself include are still ticked off about what microsoft did in the 90s that contributed to this directx centered gaming development... though im not a fan of mergers in general... espeically in the gaming space... loads of ip's die after mergers... to many people are on hopium that microsoft is gonna do something about the problems with activision management... no microsoft is just after more ip's for their cloud gaming services... their goal is to create a cloud gaming services monopoly cause thats the future they see... there is probably some kinda stupid loophole in the agreement so they dont have to wait 10 years...
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