The European Commission approved Xbox Game Studios (Microsoft) [2,607 articles]href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/microsoft/”>Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard [1,365 articles]href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/activision-blizzard/”>Activision Blizzard.
Approval is conditional on Microsoft fully complying with several obligations relating to the cloud gaming market.
The ruling arrives shortly after the UK competition regulator blocked a $69 billion deal, which it claimed would halt the takeover globally, while the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also suing to block the merger.
Microsoft hopes the European Commission’s decision will put pressure on other regulators to follow suit by liquidating the Xbox deal. [6,826 articles]href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/xbox/”>The Xbox Maker agrees to the perks.
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The EU investigation into the deal indicated that it would not harm competing consoles and competing multi-game subscription services, but could harm competition in game distribution via cloud game streaming services and in the supply of PC hardware. [7,470 articles]href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/pc/”>PC Operating Systems.
To address the competition concerns identified by the Commission, Microsoft has offered the following licensing commitments, for a period of 10 years:
- A free license for consumers in the European Economic Area that allows them to stream, via any cloud game streaming services of their choice, all Activision Blizzard games on current and future PCs for which they have a license.
- A free corresponding license to Cloud Game Streaming Providers to allow players in the European Economic Area to stream any PC and console games from Activision Blizzard.
Under the supervision of the Commission, an independent trustee will be charged with monitoring the implementation of these remedies.
These licenses will guarantee players who have purchased one or more Activision [1,142 articles]href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/activision-blizzard/activision/”>Activision games on a PC or console store, or that have subscribed to a multi-game subscription service that includes Activision games, the commission said Monday. “The right to stream these games with any cloud game streaming service of their choice and play them on any device using any operating system.”
It added, “The commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud gaming over the current situation.”
In response to today’s announcement, Microsoft President Brad Smith said: “The European Commission has required Microsoft to automatically license popular Activision Blizzard games to competing cloud gaming services. This will be implemented globally and will enable millions of consumers around the world to play these games on any device they choose.” “.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick [114 articles]href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/people/bobby-kotick/”>Bobby Kotick said: “The European Commission has conducted a very careful and deliberate process to get a comprehensive understanding of the games. As a result, they approved our merger with Microsoft, even though it required stringent remedies to ensure strong competition in our fast-growing industry. “
He added, “We have deep roots in Europe. Our company was founded in France. ‘Candy Crush’ – one of our most successful franchises – was created in Sweden. Our company’s senior leadership comes from all over the European Union, including Austria, Germany and Sweden. We intend to expand our investment and workforce We have a meaningful presence throughout the European Union and are excited about the benefits our transactions are bringing to players in Europe and around the world.
“The majority of gamers in the world play on mobile phones. Europe has played a pivotal role in game development, especially mobile games, and we expect European game developers to continue to drive growth and innovation.
Our talented teams in Sweden, Spain, Germany, Romania, Poland and many other European countries have the skills, ambition and government support needed to compete effectively on a global scale. We expect these teams to grow and thrive given their governments’ firm and pragmatic approach to games.”
Last month, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was blocking the deal over concerns about its impact on the future of the cloud gaming market.
Responding to the EU’s decision on Monday, Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), indicated that the EU Commission was wrong to approve the deal.
“The consensus of UK, US and European competition authorities is that this merger will harm competition in cloud gaming,” Cardell wrote. The CMA concluded that cloud gaming must continue as a free and 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 over the next 10 years. It would replace a free, open, and competitive market with one that is constantly regulated for the games Microsoft sells, the platforms you sell to it, and the terms of sale.
This is one of the reasons why the independent committee group of the Capital Markets Authority rejected Microsoft’s proposals and blocked this deal. While we recognize and respect the right of the European Commission to take a different point of view, the Capital Markets Authority stands by its decision.”
Microsoft and Activision have previously confirmed their intention to appeal the CMA’s decision, which the former described as “bad for Britain” and the latter as “irrational”.
The US Federal Trade Commission also sued Microsoft in an attempt to block the proposed acquisition due to antitrust concerns.
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