Xbox, Activision may pull games from UK to move ahead with acquisition
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Featured Image Credit: Activision, Xbox
Microsoft could hold Xbox and Activision products back in the UK if their attempted acquisition of Activision goes through in other countries around the world.
It’s certainly not the outcome that Microsoft was hoping for. On 26 April, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the tech giant’s proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision. For months, regulatory bodies from around the world have been scrutinising the deal. It’s the future of the Call of Duty franchise that’s piqued most people’s interest. Originally, Microsoft said they wouldn’t make it an Xbox-exclusive, later confessing at least not for a while anyway. Then, a 10-year access deal was offered to PlayStation and Nintendo. It wasn’t enough to sway the CMA though whose main concern surrounds Microsoft potentially monopolising the cloud gaming market.
Xbox’s next major console exclusive is Starfield, which will also be released on PC.
The CMA said they had concerns that “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,” adding that Microsoft already accounts for around 60-70% of cloud gaming services across the world. Microsoft said they’d appeal the decision, but the CMA is blocking the acquisition for 10 years.
The deal has been approved by EU regulators though, prompting some to suggest that Microsoft could simply leave the UK out of the deal. As reported by GameRanx, CNBC asked Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella if he’d considered withholding products from the UK if the deal was approved in other territories. He said, “Let’s wait for it all to play out.” To state the obvious, that’s not a yes, but it’s not a no either - suggesting it could be one possible back up plan.
Nadella added that he was “very much” surprised by the CMA’s decision, adding, “In some sense, this is the most pro-competitive thing I’ve ever seen.”