Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard buyout blocked by UK government

Liam Mackay
Captain Price in Modern Warfare 2

Although Microsoft’s acquisition of Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard was set to close in July 2023, the UK government has blocked the deal following their investigation.

Microsoft are in the process of acquiring Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard King, but the deal has been blocked by the UK government’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

While there has been a ton of back-and-forth between Microsoft and Sony, the UK CMA reached its decision on April 26, announcing: “The CMA has prevented Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision over concerns the deal would alter the future of the fast-growing cloud gaming market, leading to reduced innovation and less choice for UK gamers over the years to come.”

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While Call of Duty has been a major talking point, cloud gaming is the reason for the deal being blocked. With Microsoft already accounting for an “estimated 60-70% of global cloud gaming services,” the UK CMA reports that “The deal would reinforce Microsoft’s advantage in the market by giving it control over important gaming content such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft.”

Microsoft has responded, confirming they “remain fully committed to this acquisition and will appeal.”

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“The CMA’s decision rejects a pragmatic path to address competition concerns and discourages technology innovation and investment in the United Kingdom,” wrote Microsoft Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith.

“We have already signed contracts to make Activision Blizzard’s popular games available on 150 million more devices, and we remain committed to reinforcing these agreements through regulatory remedies. We’re especially disappointed that after lengthy deliberations, this decision appears to reflect a flawed understanding of this market and the way the relevant cloud technology actually works.”

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While Microsoft are still waiting on a decision from the EU and FTC lawsuit, they cannot go ahead with the Activision Blizzard acquisition without the UK’s approval.

Image Credit: Activision

About The Author

Liam is CharlieIntel's Editor who focuses on Call of Duty but also plays lots of fantasy RPGs or anything else in his massive gaming backlog. After graduating in Journalism from Edinburgh Napier University, Liam freelanced in games journalism before joining CharlieIntel in November 2020. You can contact Liam at [email protected].