Call of Duty is one of Activision's big franchises. © Activision
While it was already one of the main players in video games, Microsoft will have an even more important place in this sector. In 2022, it announced its intention to buy the company Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Candy Crush Saga, etc.) for $68.7 billion. And if the operation almost fell through due to a blockage at the level of the competition regulator in the United Kingdom, Microsoft finally obtained the last green light it needed.
The decision of the British policeman, the Competition & Markets Authority, was announced on October 13. And Microsoft subsequently announced the merger. “Today, we officially welcome Activision Blizzard and its teams to Xbox. They are the publishers of some of the most played and beloved franchises in console, PC and mobile gaming history. From Pitfall to Call of Duty, from World of Warcraft to Overwatch, from Candy Crush Saga to Farm Heroes Saga, their studios have pushed the boundaries of gaming for gamers everywhere,” writes Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, on the firm's website.
A deal that almost fell through?
To be able to complete this acquisition, Microsoft had to go through numerous regulatory obstacles. As our colleagues at The Verge report, in the United States, the trade watchdog tried to block the takeover. But he did not obtain a preliminary injunction (an appeal procedure is still underway). In Europe, the green light from the Commission was obtained in May.
On the other hand, things were more complicated in the United Kingdom, where the CMA has already refused a first proposal from Microsoft. But ultimately, a second agreement with the regulator allowed the Redmond firm to obtain the green light from the CMA, which made it possible to formalize the acquisition.
Among the sore points was Call of Duty, one of the most popular franchises on console (an agreement was finally reached between Microsoft and Sony). But beyond that, there was also the question of cloud gaming. And finally, if Microsoft was able to obtain the approval of European and British regulators, it is because it committed not to make Activision Blizzard titles exclusives for its cloud gaming platform.
Microsoft conquers the mobile market
In any case, by becoming the new owner of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft gets its hands on a vast catalog of very popular mobile titles. However, this is a gaming segment in which the Redmond firm was not very present before this acquisition.
Moreover, during the negotiations between Microsoft and the police force of competition in the United Kingdom, documents revealed the firm's intention to launch a competitor to the App Store and the Play Store on mobile, drawing on the catalog of mobile games purchased from Activision Blizzard.
- Microsoft announces the finalization of its acquisition of Activision Blizzard
- It is now the owner of the Call of Duty franchise
- Microsoft has had a lot of difficulty convincing regulators, especially in the United Kingdom
- Microsoft signed an agreement with Sony regarding Call of Duty, and it had to make concessions regarding cloud gaming