News The UK's Business Competition Watchdog Blocks the Merger between Xbox and Activision-Blizzard


Well-known member
Nov 27, 2019
An update on this deal, or perhaps no deal.

The UK's business watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority (The CMA) has sensationally blocked the proposed merger between Xbox and Activision-Blizzard. The CMA were concerned over how this move would affect innovation and competition going forward into a future of cloud based gaming. Read the full brief on the the UK Government Website.

Basically, the CMA feel Microsoft have such a head start in the field of cloud gaming through Gamepass that having control of Activision-Blizzard on top of what they already have would make it difficult for other companies to compete in that market, leading to Microsoft lagging innovation in this market to better the consumer. Difficult to argue against those points, I suppose.

As you might imagine, Microsoft and Activision are not pleased. Responding in a statement, Microsoft president Brad Smith said;

“We remain fully committed to this acquisition and will appeal. The CMA’s decision rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns and discourages technology innovation and investment in the United Kingdom. We have already signed contracts to make Activision Blizzard’s popular games available on 150 million more devices, and we remain committed to reinforcing these agreements through regulatory remedies. We’re especially disappointed that after lengthy deliberations, this decision appears to reflect a flawed understanding of this market and the way the relevant cloud technology actually works.”

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson was even more savage;

“The CMA’s report contradicts the ambitions of the U.K. to become an attractive country to build technology businesses. We will work aggressively with Microsoft to reverse this on appeal. The report’s conclusions are a disservice to U.K. citizens, who face increasingly dire economic prospects. We will reassess our growth plans for the U.K. Global innovators large and small will take note that - despite all its rhetoric - the U.K. is clearly closed for business.”

(Both Quotes found on Polygon)

So whilst there will almost certainly be an appeal, the history of the CMA does not bode well for Xbox and Activision-Blizzard for that working in thier favour as appeals to the CMA tend to get rejected. And if what the CMA in thier statement is true and they have worked with the parties involved to try and alleviate those concerns and yet they still came to this conclusion, it seems unlikely that there is anything that Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard can say now to change thier mind.

I wouldn't say the deal is dead, but there is no point sugar coating this, this is disaster for Xbox and Activision-Blizzard.

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