Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Clears Regulatory Hurdle, Game Pass Integration Expected Next Year.
Following the approval from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Microsoft’s revised deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, the tech giant is now poised to finalize the $68.7 billion acquisition, over a year and a half since its initial announcement.
The CMA, in a statement on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), declared, “We’ve cleared the new deal for Microsoft to buy Activision without cloud gaming rights. In August, Microsoft made a concession that would see Ubisoft, instead of Microsoft, buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights. This new deal will stop Microsoft from locking up competition in cloud gaming, preserving competitive prices and services for UK cloud gamers.”
Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith, expressed gratitude for the CMA’s review and approval, stating, “We have now crossed the final regulatory hurdle to close this acquisition, which we believe will benefit players and the gaming industry worldwide.”
Initially, the CMA had blocked Microsoft’s proposed deal, citing concerns related to the cloud gaming sector. In response, Microsoft submitted a revised proposal in August, offering to sell the streaming rights for all Activision Blizzard games released in the next 15 years to Ubisoft. With the CMA’s provisional approval in September, today’s official approval clears the path for the acquisition to proceed.
Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, emphasized the importance of their intervention in ensuring Microsoft doesn’t have undue control in the rapidly developing cloud gaming market. She stated, “As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services, and more choice. We are the only competition agency globally to have delivered this outcome.”
Activision games won’t be added to Game Pass until next year
With Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard anticipated to be finalized soon, questions have arisen about the integration of Activision titles into Xbox Game Pass. Activision has responded to these queries on social media, clarifying that titles are not expected on Game Pass until next year.
“While we do not have plans to put ‘Modern Warfare 3’ or ‘Diablo 4’ into Game Pass this year,” Activision stated, “once the deal closes, we expect to start working with Xbox to bring our titles to more players around the world. And we anticipate that we would begin adding games into Game Pass sometime in the course of next year.”