The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has ruled against Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition deal of Blizzard Entertainment. As per the CMA, the potential deal for Blizzard Entertainment would make Microsoft a dominant player in the cloud gaming sphere while in turn stifling competition and leaving UK gamers with less choice in the years to come.
Cloud gaming needs a free, competitive market to drive innovation and choice. Microsoft already enjoys a powerful position and head start over other competitors in cloud gaming and this deal would strengthen that advantage giving it the ability to undermine new and innovative competitors.” – Martin Coleman, Panel Chair of the CMA
The CMA estimates that Microsoft accounts for 60-70% of global cloud gaming services via Windows and its Xbox portfolio and also notes Microsoft’s possibility of making Call of Duty games exclusive to its Xbox Game Pass service as the big hurdle that would lead to an unfair advantage over competitors.
Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will appeal the CMA’s decision with the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal with both sides remaining committed to the acquisition. There are similar objections from the EU antitrust commission so we’ll have to wait and see if the biggest deal in gaming will actually go down.