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Microsoft argues its Activision Blizzard case with UK regulators

Microsoft argues its Activision Blizzard case with UK regulators


Microsoft wants UK regulators to consider its cloud deals, a Sony Call of Duty agreement, evidence from the FTC case, and much more.

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Activision Blizzard wordmark over an Xbox logo
Illustration by William Joel / The Verge

Microsoft has submitted a new change of circumstances document to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, arguing its case for its proposed Activision Blizzard deal to be reconsidered for approval.

The CMA first blocked Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard in April, with the regulator making it clear it had concerns over the effect Microsoft’s acquisition could have on the emerging cloud gaming market. Weeks later, the European Commission then approved the deal thanks to Microsoft’s cloud gaming agreements with Nvidia, Boosteroid, and others and a commitment to the EU to open up cloud licensing access to Xbox and Activision Blizzard games.

Microsoft now argues the UK regulator should take into consideration its cloud gaming deals and the EU monitoring of them, a new Call of Duty agreement with Sony, and even fresh material from the FTC case “which undermines the [final report’s] conclusions.” Microsoft is also working on a final proposal to modify the merger agreement to address the CMA concerns more directly, which could involve selling off its cloud gaming rights in the UK.

Details on Microsoft’s Sony agreement are heavily redacted.
Details on Microsoft’s Sony agreement are heavily redacted.
Image: CMA

Microsoft’s document is heavily redacted, so references to the company’s 10-year agreement with Sony over Call of Duty don’t shed any new light on the deal terms. We also still don’t have details of Microsoft’s final proposal to restructure its Activision deal, either, but the CMA is looking for comments from Microsoft’s rivals by August 4th and will accept final undertakings or make a final order by August 29th.

That means we should get more details on Microsoft’s final proposal in the coming weeks. Microsoft recently agreed to an extension to its $68.7 billion deal with Activision, pushing the new deal deadline to October 18th. The extension gives Microsoft and Activision plenty of time to attempt to address the CMA’s cloud gaming concerns.