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Microsoft has submitted its change of circumstances to the UK regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), arguing as to why the CMA should reverse its decision to block its Activision Blizzard acquisition and ultimately approve the deal.
Microsoft is arguing the CMA should consider its new agreement with Sony to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles, its cloud gaming deals and the EU monitoring to make sure Microsoft upholds its end of the deals. Microsoft also argues the latest evidence from the FTC case “which undermines the FR’s [final report’s] conclusions.”
“Microsoft entered into cloud gaming licensing agreements with NVIDIA, Boosteroid and Ubitus providing cloud gaming services,” argues Microsoft. “Since the [final report], Microsoft has also entered into a fourth agreement with Cloudware S.L., which provides the cloud gaming service Nware. In the [final report], the CMA stated that the Agreements Microsoft had entered into did not affect its view on the likely theory of harm because it had no assurance that Microsoft would not simply break, terminate or renegotiate the Agreements.”
Microsoft adds, “Second, on 15 July 2023 Sony entered into an extended agreement for the provision of Call of Duty (the principal Activision game with which Sony is and has been concerned). The entry into this agreement is a material change of circumstance and/or special reason for reaching a different decision, (both in its own right and in combination with the commitments referred to above). The Sony Agreement ensures that perhaps the most powerful player in the video games industry will have access in the long term to the Activision game it considers most important.”
Microsoft on the FTC case said, “The new material emerging from the US is further supported by new data analysis which has only been possible following the disclosure process in the Tribunal proceedings in
the UK. The analysis provides new information which undermines key findings in the [final report] and is thus also relevant to the CMA’s consideration of the appropriate final order.”
The acquisition has been approved in Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, China, the European Union, Ukraine, Japan, Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia. Microsoft also won its case against the FTC in the US, which was trying to block the deal.
The only place blocking the deal right now is the UK regulator the CMA, which extended its deadline to make its final order on Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition from July 18 to August 29.
It was reported in July Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are considering giving up some control over cloud-gaming in the UK to appease the CMA. It is reported Microsoft might be willing to sell its cloud gaming rights in the UK to a telecommunications, gaming or internet-based computing company. One person said a private equity company might be interested.
A life-long and avid gamer, William D’Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.