If it goes ahead, the acquisition will be the largest in the history of the games industry at almost $70 billion. However, the UK's CMA recently blocked the deal over worries that Microsoft could take effective ownership of cloud gaming. What happens next is up for debate with the next big milestone being the EU's decision on the deal due later this month.
Microsoft has now successfully convinced a number of countries’ regulators and its competitors, seemingly evading and getting around the louder concerns in regards to Call of Duty console exclusivity and Microsoft's own app store, for example. In fact, even the UK authorities backtracked on prior findings as regards to console competition, deciding that the deal wouldn’t affect competitors; it is cloud gaming that remains the issue.
Activision Blizzard said at the time: "The CMA’s updated provisional findings show an improved understanding of the console gaming market and demonstrate a commitment to supporting players and competition. Microsoft has already presented effective and enforceable remedies to address each of the CMA’s remaining concerns."
Bobby Kotick and Brad Smith have been defiant since the CMA ruling, however.
As for Ukraine, the country’s Antimonopoly Committee has approved the deal despite its concerns around competition. According to Gamesindustry.biz, the government body’s statement read:
"Microsoft Corporation and Activision Blizzard, Inc. do not carry out economic activity in the field of cloud gaming services in Ukraine. So the concerns expressed by the [European Commission] and the reasons for the prohibition of concentration in Great Britain are not relevant for assessing its impact on the dynamics of competition in Ukraine.
"Taking into account the above-mentioned factors, the Committee allowed the specified concentration."
Xbox's Phil Spencer recently spoke on Microsoft's moves on mobile, as well as Activision Blizzard and AI.