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The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has published its updated provisional findings in the case of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The new findings conclude that the acquisition, if completed, is unlikely to result in reduced competition for consoles. It still has concerns that the merger will hurt competition in other areas.
The CMA’s new report says it received new evidence during its consultation period. From this evidence it concluded that “the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition in relation to console gaming in the UK.” More specifically, it addresses the primary concern that Microsoft would withhold Call of Duty from Sony consoles to boost sales of its own. The new findings suggest that Microsoft has financial incentive to keep the game series on PlayStation.
Sony has consistently objected to the merger on the basis that Microsoft would withhold the games. It’s cited as evidence the fact that Microsoft-acquired Bethesda’s games are not coming to PlayStation consoles. The CMA’s new evidence includes “better insight into the actual purchasing behavior of CoD gamers” that suggests Microsoft would actually lost a lot of money if it pulled the same trick with Call of Duty.
The new conclusions, however, relate only to competition where the sale of consoles is concerned. According to its press release, the CMA is still concerned with anti-competitive measures with regards to cloud gaming. The authority is due to issue its final report on the merger on April 26. Microsoft also still faces opposition to the merge from the U.S.’s Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission.
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