After Nintendo and Nvidia pledges, the Microsoft Activision deal seems likely to be approved
The deal might finally be going through.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard might finally be close to completion, following rumors that the pledges made to Nintendo and Nvidia were enough to satisfy the European Commission’s antitrust concerns. Unlike Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the purchase of Activision Blizzard has drawn incredible legal scrutiny, as Microsoft could use its control over key gaming franchises to hedge out its competition.
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According to Reuters, sources have revealed that Microsoft’s overtures to its competitors have satisfied the concerns brought up by the EU. These involve bringing the Call of Duty franchise to Nintendo systems for ten years and allowing Xbox PC games onto Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service. With these deals in place, the EU is expected to approve the deal before April 25, as that’s the current cut-off date for a decision.
If the European Commission is on board, then the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard will have cleared a significant hurdle to the point where it’s safe to assume that the deal could be completed by the end of 2023, especially once things are hashed out with UK regulatory bodies. This isn’t to say that Microsoft’s competitors won’t have anything to say on the matter, as Google has raised objections regarding the deal, as have Sony. Still, only so much lobbying can be done before the acquisition is completed.
If the Nintendo and Nvidia deals were the critical requirement for the acquisition, then Microsoft got off easy, as porting Call of Duty games onto Nintendo systems could be a case of cloud gaming rather than investing in native ports, while the PC gaming streaming market is still struggling to take off, as can be seen with the death of Google Stadia. It’s more a case of the time spent completing the deal and the small matter of the $69 billion cost of allowing it to go through in the first place, so Microsoft will be expecting a lot from these Activision Blizzard franchises in the future.