For a minute, it looked like Microsoft’s buyout of Activision was going to be averted thanks to the EU not being on board with the merger. Unfortunately, it seems these sorts of mergers are all but inevitable. It was just announced a day or so ago that the EU’s regulatory body, the European Commission, just gave the deal the go ahead.
As reported by Eurogamer, it seems that Microsoft had to make some concessions when it came to cloud gaming. In particular, Microsoft had/has to guarantee that European gamers will have the ability to stream Activision-Blizzard games on any cloud gaming service they want. As for concers that Microsoft would pull Activision-Blizzard games from other platforms, the Commission wasn’t all that worried about it. It concluded that Microsoft likely won’t do that because it would eat into the company’s profits. It didn’t prohibit such a move either.
Now Microsoft may indeed not do anything to upset Call of Duty’s multi-platform apple cart, but it would be weird for the company to spend upwards of six billion dollars to get all these IPs and not do something to leverage them. Even if it didn’t get as much money, lower net profit could very well be worth denying competitors the world’s biggest entertainment IP. (Especially since Game Pass and Xbox Series X|S are seriously hurting for worthwhile exclusives).
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like this. The gaming business is already overly-consolidated as far as I’m concerned, and to see one of the biggest giants in the business get absorbed by another one just doesn’t make sense. We know Activision-Blizzard is highly profitable and not hurting more money, so why is it/was it looking to get bought out in the first place? Just because?
Also, how much of the industry does Microsoft a have to own before it’s recognized as a monopoly? Seriously, at the rate businesses are getting gobbled up, we’re going to end up with just a small handful of absolute behemoths owning everything before long, and we all lose if that happens.
What do you think of all this? Do you think Microsoft can be trusted?
Image is promotional artwork