China’s State Administration for Market Regulation has now officially granted its approval of Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, as reported by Seeking Alpha.
The $69 billion acquisition deal has been subject to a lengthy process, gradually gaining the approval of various countries all around the world - all necessary for Microsoft to legally acquire the fellow gaming giant and trade on equal terms all around the world.
Of course, not all countries are approving of the deal. Last month, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked it over concerns around competition in the cloud gaming space, stating: "It is vital that we protect competition in this emerging and exciting market."
Microsoft is currently forming its appeal in the hopes of forcing the regulators to reconsider.
Despite criticisms from legislators and competitors, approvals have been coming in from the rest of the world. The EU gave Microsoft the go-ahead earlier this week after the latter proposed remedies to a potential cloud gaming monopoly, such as giving free licences to cloud gaming providers so that gamers located in European would be able to stream Activision Blizzard titles.
This decision did spark a further response from the CMA, however, it wasn’t a positive one, only reinstating that the UK’s decision to block the approval still stands, while highlighting the EU's own concerns. There has been some back and forth since with the EU defending its decision, suggesting the CMA’s concerns are overblown and the deal would actually be "pro-competitive".
The latest approval from China only adds to the tally of countries approving the deal, contrary to the UK’s ruling, leaving the CMA very much as the odd one out.
It should be noted that Xbox’s cloud services and Game Pass are unavailable in China as it stands however. Therefore, any worries about a Microsoft cloud gaming monopoly are of far less concern in China, and is perhaps one reason why their approval has been passed unhindered.
With the UK’s stance unwavering (at least for now) the question beginning to rise is could Microsoft carry out a ‘Mexit’? Whether the company really would pull games like Call of Duty from the UK is of course unlikely but, with the UK increasingly becomming the odd one out, the possibility remains on the table.