UK regulator finds Microsoft’s Activision-Blizzard buyout won’t harm competition or Call of Duty on PlayStation

It's still worried about cloud gaming, however


The see-saw ride of findings and statements from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority continues, as the governing body has now put forth an addendum to its earlier findings, which provisionally concluded that – if approved – the deal would not lessen competition in the country. It also concluded Microsoft would not lock PlayStation out of Call of Duty access.

The regulators’ concerns about access to the Call of Duty franchise, which saw Sony dream up and disclose multiple nightmare scenarios, looks to have been primarily resolved in light of some provided new evidence:

“While the CMA’s original analysis indicated that this strategy would be profitable under most scenarios, new data (which provides better insight into the actual purchasing behaviour of CoD gamers) indicates that this strategy would be significantly loss-making under any plausible scenario. On this basis, the updated analysis now shows that it would not be commercially beneficial to Microsoft to make CoD exclusive to Xbox following the deal, but that Microsoft will instead still have the incentive to continue to make the game available on PlayStation.”.

This in turn has led the CMA to believe that overall console gaming competition would not be harmed in the country by the merger. Where the government body still finds issue is in regard to cloud gaming, which is still being investigated.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the deal has been finalized or even fully approved by this one agency, as this conclusion is still provisional and a final report is due on April 26th. Even so, this does appear to be a step forward in the whole saga.

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