The European Commission has approved Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion purchase of gaming giant Activision.
The news comes just a few weeks after the United Kingdom became the first nation to prohibit the multibillion-dollar merger, while the Federal Trade Commission in the United States is trying to stop it.
Microsoft first announced its bid for Activision in January of last year, with the goal of combining Microsoft’s distribution power on console and PC with one of the world’s largest third-party game publishers — Activision is responsible for mega-franchises such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.
While the United Kingdom had previously focused on the deal’s impact on both console and cloud gaming, the Competition and Markets Authority focused solely on the latter.
While Microsoft could theoretically withhold titles from PlayStation, it stated that Sony’s console had a large enough market share that it would likely remain a profitable and appealing channel for Microsoft to continue supporting Activision games. However, it stated that the widespread use of Windows and its “significant cloud infrastructure” could offer Microsoft an unfair advantage in cloud gaming.
Following the U.K.’s blockade, both companies responded aggressively, with an Activision spokesperson stating at the time that the U.K.’s conclusions “are a disservice to U.K. citizens, who face increasingly dire economic prospects,” adding that it would “reassess” its growth plans for the U.K. as it was “closed for business.”
Microsoft’s suggested remedies, which included the promise to allow all European Economic Area consumers to stream all existing and future Activision games via any cloud-based game streaming service for the next ten years, were evidently adequate to win Microsoft’s approval.
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