Microsoft has made a fresh bid to acquire game developer Activision Blizzard after its original $69 billion deal was blocked by UK regulators. Microsoft’s revised offer includes an agreement to transfer streaming rights for Activision games from the cloud to Ubisoft, a video game publisher, for 15 years. The company hopes that this new proposal will gain regulatory approval and enable the merger to proceed. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will review the deal, with a decision expected by October 18. The proposed merger has sparked concerns among regulators globally, some of whom worry it could limit options for gamers and stifle competition in the cloud gaming sector.
Background and Impact
Microsoft’s initial bid to acquire Activision Blizzard faced opposition from regulatory bodies, particularly the CMA in the UK, which blocked the deal in April due to concerns over innovation and competition. Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, expressed frustration over the decision and claimed it was “bad for Britain.”
To address these concerns, Microsoft’s revised offer includes the transfer of streaming rights to Ubisoft, which would supply Activision’s content to various cloud gaming service providers, including Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming. The goal is to ensure that Microsoft does not have exclusive control over Activision’s gaming content in the cloud.
Rivalries and Opportunities
The proposed merger aims to bolster Microsoft’s Xbox console and gaming subscription services, particularly Xbox Game Pass. However, rivals like Sony have raised concerns that Microsoft could limit major games’ availability on platforms other than its own. If the revised offer gains regulatory approval, it could lead to a significant expansion of Microsoft’s gaming portfolio and offerings.
The Road Ahead
Microsoft’s bid to acquire Activision Blizzard remains a complex process that requires regulatory approval from various countries, including the UK, the US, and the EU. The outcome of this bid will have implications for the future of the gaming industry and the competitive landscape of cloud gaming services.
The Impact of the Revised Offer
While the revised offer includes concessions aimed at addressing regulatory concerns, it remains to be seen whether these measures will satisfy regulatory bodies such as the CMA. The CMA’s review will likely assess whether the new proposal adequately promotes competition, innovation, and consumer choice within the rapidly evolving cloud gaming market.