The British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has officially announced that it has banned Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard.
CMA said it took the step because it feared the deal would have a negative impact on the fast-growing cloud gaming market for years to come and lead to less innovation and less choice for UK gamers.
According to CMA estimates, Microsoft controls 60% to 70% of global cloud gaming services, and gaining additional control over Call of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcraft would give Microsoft a significant advantage in the cloud gaming market.
Before that, Microsoft tried to reduce such concerns by entering into agreements with other cloud services – Boosteroid, Ubitus, Nvidia, after late last year it signed a 10-year contract with Nintendo. CMA says it has read these agreements and that it believes they contain a number of significant deficiencies in relation to cloud gaming services.
Analysts note that the CMA is trying to assert itself as the world’s leading regulator after Great Britain’s exit from the EU, and this is not the first time it has “attacked” large technology companies. For example, at the end of 2021, it obliged Meta to sell Giphy — and almost a year later Meta announced that it will accept the committee’s decision.
Microsoft has already said it will appeal the decision.
We remain fully committed to our acquisition with @ATVI_AB and will appeal today's determination by the CMA. Here's our statement. pic.twitter.com/ylvDP5RUqQ
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) April 26, 2023