Microsoft’s Activision Purchase Cleared A Huge Hurdle

Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been approved by China, a huge step forward.

By Jason Collins | Published

microsoft activision-blizzard

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been approved by China, following the veto from UK’s Competition and Market Authority agency—after the company cleared a major hurdle and secured the EU Commission’s approval. However, without everyone on board, Microsoft won’t be able to buy Activision Blizzard, which is something Sony’s been dreaming about ever since the acquisition was approved by Japan’s authority.

According to IGN, China’s State Administration has approved Microsoft’s attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard, joining a total of 37 regulators, including the EU and Japan. This approval, assuming that the authorities are speaking on behalf of the people, now means that the acquisition is supported by more than two billion people. China’s approval follows that of Ukraine, Japan, Brazil, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, and most notably, the European Union, whose approval was finally confirmed following months of speculation.

Microsoft needs to win three major markets in its proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition, and the EU was one of them, with the remaining two being the UK’s Competition and Market Authority and the US Federal Trade Commission, both of which have made moves to block the acquisition. UK’s CMA found that the acquisition would give Microsoft too much power in the Cloud Gaming segment of the market—which is, admittedly, only a small section of the overall gaming market.

So, instead of policing and regulating Microsoft’s moves in the fledgling market after the tech giant acquired Activision Blizzard, the CMA has decided that it’s much easier to just block the deal. Of course, Microsoft could pull its gaming division out from the UK and still close the deal without CMA and FTC’s approval, but there’s no indication that the company is still ready for such drastic measures. With that said, the CMA’s findings, upon which the ruling was made, were preliminary, and Microsoft has the right to appeal the decision.

US’s Federal Trade Commission, on the other hand, is yet to reveal its final ruling on Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The government agency is carefully reviewing every step Microsoft makes when it comes to acquisitions due to various lawsuits filed against the company for engaging in anticompetitive behavior. This includes the infamous Unites States v. Microsoft Corp lawsuit from 1998-2004.

call of duty
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Sony has been the most vocal opponent of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as the Japanese tech giant believes that the future of Call of Duty titles on PlayStation will be affected, despite Microsoft claiming otherwise. This is especially true because Sony has a long history is cross-platform triple-A releases that made their way to Microsoft Windows, especially during the seventh generation of consoles or the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era. We’re obviously being sarcastic because it’s a known fact that Sony purposefully harmed Xbox 360 sales in Japan.

Microsoft is currently doing everything in its power to secure the future of its Activision Blizzard deal, even going out as far as to offer Sony, its main gaming competitor, a huge deal for Call of Duty, promising that the franchise will remain on Sony’s platform for at least a decade. The same offers were made to Nvidia and Nintendo, who immediately took the deal, so it’s not outside the realm of possibilities that we’ll witness a Call of Duty game on a Nintendo Switch one day.