Microsoft may have successfully addressed the concerns of the European Union regarding its Activision Blizzard acquisition. Last month, the Redmond giant made big strides by announcing a 10-year deal to bring back Call of Duty on Nintendo consoles, as well as another deal with Nvidia to bring Xbox PC games on the company’s GeForce Now cloud gaming service.
According to a new report from Reuters, “Microsoft’s offer of licensing deals to rivals is likely to address EU antitrust concerns over its $69 billion acquisition of Activision, three people familiar with the matter said, helping it to clear a major hurdle.” The report also said that the European Commission “is not expected to demand that Microsoft sell assets to win its approval, the people said.”
A divestiture of Call of Duty or other Activision Blizzard assets was one of the remedies previously suggested by the UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority, which pointed out the risk of Microsoft making Call of Duty or other Activision Blizzard franchises exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem. During a press conference held in Brussels last week, Microsoft President Brad Smit said that “we just don’t see a viable path to sell the Activision studio or Call of Duty game to someone else.”
The European Commission has an April 25 deadline for either approving or declining the deal. We don’t know yet if the UK’s CMA will change its stance regarding the acquisition after Microsoft’s licensing deals to rivals, and the Redmond giant is also still facing a lawsuit from the FTC in the US.
In recent months, most of the discussions around Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard have revolved around Call of Duty, a blockbuster franchise that Microsoft wants to treat like Minecraft and expand its availability on even more platforms. Microsoft President Brad Smith said last week that the company’s latest deals with Nintendo and Nvidia will “bring Call of Duty to 150 million new devices,” and it’s definitely a good argument to convince regulators to approve the acquisition.