The CMA has released updated provisional findings today for its investigation into the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard King merger in the UK. The group had initially indicated that it was concerned that the deal would harm competition and limit the scope of markets available to consumers. Today, however, that tone has changed and it now appears that Microsoft is in the drivers seat for the deal to be approved.
Last month, the CMA issued a report and gave Microsoft, Sony, Activision and any others that wanted to respond the chance to issue statements either for/against the deal and why. Only Sony responded in the negative, with Microsoft, Activision and five other responses issuing statements in full support of the deal. These were in addition to the ten-year deals with Nintendo, Boosteroid, Ubitus and Nvidia that were also announced. Each of these deals would provide the company or platform holder with access to the full library of Xbox and Activision Blizzard games, including Call of Duty, on their platform for a period of ten years. Sony was offered the same exact deal multiple times, including the ability for Call of Duty to launch on PS Plus the same day as Xbox Game Pass, and have turned it down each time.
The new details revealed today indicate that
"“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 data in support of the CMA findings today focus around Microsoft and them making all of their games exclusive to the Xbox platforms. The CMA initially said that this would make Microsoft more money. However, common sense prevailed with these findings today as the CMA found that Microsoft would in fact lose money if they removed their games from millions upon millions of platforms.
There are court dates scheduled for this Summer, but these details today should change the landscape surrounding the timeline of the case. We’ll update you as we hear more, so stay tuned.