UK regulator blocks Microsoft's Activision acquisition

Screenshot showing Activision characters and Microsoft logo on black background
Credit: Microsoft / Activision

Screenshot showing Activision characters and Microsoft logo on black background
Credit: Microsoft / Activision

Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar acquisition of game publisher Activision has rumbled on for several months. Despite Microsoft’s willingness to make numerous concessions in order to push the deal through, industry regulators and its rivals are far from convinced.

Known for publishing the likes of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Candy Crush, and Crash Bandicoot, Activision will try and move under the Microsoft umbrella in a deal worth $69 billion.

On April 26, 2023, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced it will block the deal due to concerns that the deal could influence the future of the industry.

Why was the Microsoft/Activision deal blocked?

According to a release, the regulator believes “the deal would alter the future of the fast-growing cloud gaming market, leading to reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers over the years to come.”

“The deal would reinforce Microsoft’s advantage in the market by giving it control over important gaming content such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft,” the statement reads.

In a bid to get regulators onside, Microsoft has already signed deals with a range of cloud gaming services including GeForce Now. Additionally, it also inked a ten-year deal with Nintendo, resulting in Call of Duty heading to Switch consoles. It’s unclear how this latest hurdle will impact the deals.

The UK regulator is one of the first to officially block the merger. Up next is the European Commission which plans on publishing its verdict by May 22. As for the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is in the process of suing Microsoft to block the deal due to concerns over competition in the gaming industry.

So, if you were hoping Call of Duty would end up on Game Pass anytime soon, you might be waiting a little longer.

For more, take a look at our Warzone 2 page for the latest Call of Duty intel and our news page for all things gaming.

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