Microsoft has had a tough time getting its acquisition of Call of Duty-maker Activision Blizzard approved, but it just cleared a major hurdle. The U.K.’s CMA, which previously blocked the acquisition over concerns about its impact on the cloud gaming market, says that it has “provisionally concluded” that Microsoft has addressed its biggest issues with the acquisition.
Namely, it likes that Microsoft will give the cloud gaming rights for Activision Blizzard games to Ubisoft. “The prior sale of the cloud gaming rights will establish Ubisoft as a key supplier of content to cloud gaming services, replicating the role that Activision would have played in the market as an independent player,” the CMA explained in a press release. “In contrast to the original deal, Microsoft will no longer control cloud gaming rights for Activision’s content, so would not be in a position to limit access to Activision’s key content to its own cloud gaming service or to withhold those games from rivals.”
Its press release also reveals that Ubisoft will have the ability to make “Microsoft to port Activision games to operating systems other than Windows and support game emulators when requested.” Essentially, it’s pleased that Microsoft no longer has an iron grip on Activision Blizzard games outside of the Xbox ecosystem and is closer to supporting the deal because of it. Of course, both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are pretty happy about this.
“We are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA’s review process,” Microsoft president Brad Smith tweeted. “We presented solutions that we believe fully address the CMA’s remaining concerns related to cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work toward earning approval to close prior to the October 18 deadline.”
Meanwhile, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson provided Digital Trends with the following statement: “The CMA’s preliminary approval is great news for our future with Microsoft. We’re pleased the CMA has responded positively to the solutions Microsoft has proposed, and we look forward to working with Microsoft toward completing the regulatory review process.”
A final decision from the CMA is expected to be made by October 6. As Smith mentioned, Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition is expected to close by October 18.
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