Microsoft’s proposed $69B acquisition of Activision could harm the UK’s 45M-strong gaming community, the country’s competition agency has ruled.
In a provisional finding in the past hour, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Microsoft would “strengthen its acquisition of one of the world’s most important games publishers. [its] strong position and will significantly reduce the competition that Microsoft would otherwise face in the UK cloud gaming market.”
Microsoft already accounts for an estimated 60% to 70% of cloud gaming services worldwide, the ruling said, and has cornered the market in other ways through its ownership of Xbox, Windows and Azure.
A small number of Activision’s flagship games viz Call of Duty It plays an important role in driving competition between consoles, added the CMA, which said competition from Xbox and PlayStation would “undermine competition” and “in turn harm UK gamers.”
“Our job is to ensure that UK gamers are not caught in the crossfire of global deals that could harm competition over time and lead to higher prices, less choice or less innovation,” said Martin Coleman, who chaired the CMA inquiry. .
Microsoft launched the $69B deal nearly a year ago and, while the antitrust-buster plans to challenge the FTC in court, both its vice chairman and president Brad Smith and Activision CEO Bobby Kotick recently said they were confident the move would take off.
Smith recently said that Microsoft “has been committed to addressing competitive concerns from day one.”