Microsoft's Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Blocked by UK's CMA Over Cloud Gaming Concerns

April 27, 2023 by Alex Novichenko

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has blocked Microsoft purchase of Activision Blizzard due to concerns over the impact on the fast-growing cloud gaming market. The CMA stated that Microsoft's acquisition would reduce innovation and choice for UK gamers in the future. The watchdog organization acknowledged that Microsoft's exclusivity of Activision Blizzard games would not make any business sense, but it failed to address the CMA's concerns over cloud gaming, particularly as Microsoft already had a strong position in the market.

Microsoft's President, Brad Smith, responded to the CMA's decision by stating that the company had already secured contracts to expand access to Activision Blizzard's popular games on 150 million additional devices. He added that Microsoft remained dedicated to reinforcing these agreements through regulatory measures. Smith expressed disappointment that the CMA's verdict seemed to reflect a flawed understanding of the market and relevant cloud technology, despite lengthy deliberations.

Microsoft plans to appeal the verdict, while Activision Blizzard has stated that the report's conclusions are a "disservice to UK citizens" and that it will reassess its growth plans for the UK.