The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued updated provision. From the review:
“In February, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published provisional findings setting out that the deal raises competition concerns in relation to both console gaming and cloud gaming services in the UK. The publication of the provisional findings initiated a period of consultation in which the CMA invited responses to those findings from interested parties and continued to gather further information.
“The CMA has received a significant amount of new evidence in response to its original provisional findings. Having considered this new evidence carefully, together with the wide range of information gathered before those provisional findings were issued, the CMA inquiry group has updated its provisional findings and reached the provisional conclusion that, overall, the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in relation to console gaming in the UK.
“The most significant new evidence provided to the CMA relates to Microsoft’s financial incentives to make Activision’s games, including Call of Duty (CoD), exclusive to its own consoles. 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 behavior of CoD gamers) indicates that the 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 have the incentive to continue to make the game available on PlayStation.
The CMA’s addendum to its provisional findings today relates only to competition in the supply of consoles and not to competition in the supply of cloud gaming services, where the CMA is continuing to carefully consider the responses in relation to the original provisional findings. The CMA’s merger investigation continues, and it remains due to issue its final report by 26 April 2023…
GameSpot reported that a key regulator has said it provisionally no longer believes Microsoft’s proposed deal to buy Activision Blizzard would result in a lessening of competition in the console space, paving the way for the purchase to go through.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said on Friday that it has narrowed the scope of its concerns about the deal. Importantly, though, the deal is not complete, and the CMA still has concerns about Microsoft’s bid to buy Activision Blizzard in the are of cloud gaming.
A spokesperson for Activision shared a statement with GameSpot about the CMA decision:
“The CMA’s updated provisional findings show an improved understanding of the console gaming market and demonstrate a commitment to supporting players and competition. Sony’s campaign to protect its dominance by blocking our merger can’t overcome the facts, and Microsoft has already presented effective and enforceable remedies to address each the CMA’s remaining concerns. We know this deal will benefit competition, innovation, and consumers in the UK.”
TechCrunch reported that a Microsoft spokesperson sent this statement:
“We appreciate the CMA’s rigorous and thorough evaluation of the evidence and welcomes updated provisional findings. This deal will provide more players with more choice in how they play Call of Duty and their favorite games. We look forward to working with the CMA to resolve any outstanding concerns.”
TechCrunch also reported that Microsoft sent an updated statement – attributed to Brad Smith, it’s vice char and president:
“We appreciate the CMA’s additional detailed and objective analysis. Its update underscores a growing consensus by those with access to the most current data that this deal will create more competition in the console market, not less.”
Personally, I feel like this situation is dragging on and on, and would like to see it resolved. There are plenty of gamers who want to see Microsoft acquire Activision Blizzard.