To address the regulator’s concerns, Microsoft proposed to offer a 10-year free license to users in the European Economic Area and a corresponding free license to cloud game streaming service providers for 10 years
The European Commission (EC) has conditionally cleared the previously announced Microsoft’s $68.7bn acquisition of US-based video game holding company Activision Blizzard under the European Union (EU) Merger Regulation.
According to the regulator, the approval is subject to full compliance with the commitments put forward by Microsoft.
The tech major’s proposals are said to fully address the Commission’s competition concerns and represent a considerable improvement for cloud gaming over the prevailing situation, said the EC.
The clearance for the deal comes after the conclusion of an in-depth phase 2 investigation that was launched by the authority in November 2022.
In its phase 2 probe, the EC found that Microsoft would not be able to harm competing consoles and rival multi-game subscription services but can stifle competition in the distribution of games through cloud game streaming services.
To address the regulator’s concerns, Microsoft proposed to offer a 10-year free license to users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and a corresponding free license to cloud game streaming service providers for 10 years.
The consumer license is expected to enable users to stream all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games for which they hold a license through any cloud game streaming services of their choice.
EC Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Video games attract billions of users all over the world. In such a fast-growing and dynamic industry, it is crucial to protect competition and innovation.
“Our decision represents an important step in this direction, by bringing Activision’s popular games to many more devices and consumers than before thanks to cloud game streaming.
“The commitments offered by Microsoft will enable for the first time the streaming of such games in any cloud game streaming services, enhancing competition and opportunities for growth.”
Last month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the merger over concerns that it would result in reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers over the coming years.