Update: Well, there we go. Microsoft has wasted no time, and has officially concluded the transaction to acquire Activision Blizzard King. The announcement comes via Xbox Wire, where Phil Spencer writes about this historic merger. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard King, will remain in place for at least the rest of 2023.
While he mostly waxes lyrical about how exciting it is to have ActiBlizz as part of Xbox, Spencer leaves things off to touch on the many platforms on which people play the publisher's games — and seemingly implies a lot of them will stay multiplatform.
"For the millions of fans who love Activision, Blizzard, and King games, we want you to know that today is a good day to play. You are the heart and soul of these franchises, and we are honored to have you as part of our community," he writes. "Whether you play on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo, PC or mobile, you are welcome here – and will remain welcome, even if Xbox isn’t where you play your favorite franchise."
Obviously that's not a confirmation of anything, but it's a comment that suggests to us that, just because Microsoft owns Activision Blizzard, it doesn't necessarily mean everything will become exclusive. We already know Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for at least the next 10 years.
Very interesting times ahead.
Original Story: The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given its approval for Microsoft's $69 billion buyout of Activision Blizzard to go through.
Microsoft announced its intention to acquire the huge games publisher in January 2022. Over the last year and nine months, the proposal has come under intense scrutiny as government regulators around the world mused on whether it would be harmful to competition in the games industry. Most regulators decided it wouldn't, approving the deal. The CMA, however, has been a particularly tough customer, blocking the deal predominantly with relation to a potential monopoly on cloud gaming.
The USA's Federal Trade Commission has also delayed the acquisition with legal action, though this attempt to stop the deal ultimately failed. Meanwhile, the CMA has held strong in opposing the deal until fairly recently, when Microsoft adjusted its proposal. In the new deal, Microsoft will sell the cloud streaming rights for Activision Blizzard's games to Ubisoft. After provisionally accepting this change, the CMA has now given its official thumbs up on the merger.
"With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market," says the CMA's Sarah Cardell.
Microsoft's CEO, Brad Smith, took to X to deliver a statement on the CMA's decision. "We’re grateful for the CMA’s thorough review and decision today," he says. "We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition, which we believe will benefit players and the gaming industry worldwide."
The deadline for the completion of the deal is 18th October, meaning it will finally close within a week.
It's been an incredibly prolonged ordeal taking almost two years, but it looks like Microsoft will own Activision Blizzard very soon indeed. What do you think about all this? Let us know in the comments section below.