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EU Approves Microsoft’s Takeover of Activision Blizzard, Clearing Key Hurdle After UK Rejection

The back and forth about Microsoft‘s US$68.7 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard is not slowing down anytime soon, but there has been a new development in the saga. Following the UK’s decision to block the sale, the European Commission has now stated that it will allow the deal to go through with new promises made by Microsoft when it comes to cloud gaming.

According to the details shared, the European Commission found that Microsoft “would have no incentive to refuse to distribute Activision’s games to Sony” on the business front, and even if the company chose to do so, the competitiveness of the console market in the region would see no significant change.

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However, there remain concerns that the Activision Blizzard deal will skew the competition on the cloud gaming front, especially when it comes to the distribution of PC and console games. This is why for the EU to approve the deal, Microsoft had to agree to 10-year licensing deals for its competitors.

This will allow EU consumers to stream all present and future Activision Blizzard games on both PC and console on “any cloud game streaming services of their choice,” with cloud services getting the same free license to stream games in the EU. The process will be an automatic one, applying to all the games within the library.

“Our decision represents an important step in this direction, by bringing Activision’s popular games to many more devices and consumers than before thanks to cloud game streaming,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive VP in charge of competition policy at the European Commission.

“The commitments offered by Microsoft will enable for the first time the streaming of such games in any cloud game streaming services, enhancing competition and opportunities for growth.”

While this may be a significant step forward for Microsoft and Activision Blizzard, the war is far from over. Regulators in other regions, including the US, China, South Korea, Australia, and more are still reviewing the proposed acquisition.