New Zealand competition authorities to delay decision on Activision Blizzard acquisition to July 17th

The delay comes as the US FTC and UK CMA both levy actions against the landmark deal

New Zealand competition authorities to delay decision on Activision Blizzard acquisition to July 17th

The Commerce Commission of New Zealand has become the latest regulator to take action against the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The regulator announced in a filing that they would be delaying a decision to allow the deal to July 17th, pending a review of the effect that it would have on competition in the area of cloud gaming. This concern over cloud gaming - or streaming video games - is also the argument that has been levied by the UK CMA in their attempts to block the acquisition.

Regarding their exact concerns the filing reads, “At this stage, the focus of our investigation is whether the Proposed Acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition due to vertical effects in the distribution of video games for cloud gaming services.

“We are concerned that these effects may arise as a result of the merged entity either partially or fully foreclosing its rivals in cloud gaming, such as Sony or NVIDIA, from accessing certain Activision content, and in particular the game Call of Duty (CoD), to the detriment of competition in cloud gaming,” it continues.

A final decision could see another blocker placed on the deal, or approval and thus extra pressure on the FTC and CMA to approve the deal.

Concerns over the Cloud

This is the second such concern levied by a regulator, as they join the UK CMA in having issues with the level of competition in cloud gaming as a central lynchpin of its challenge. The appeals process, set to begin on July 24th has drawn a storm of controversy with some suggesting that a possible “Mexit” or divestment of Microsoft from the UK market would not be out of the question.

The CMA was left with egg on its face when the EU Commission - anticipated by the former to block the deal - instead approved it. The CMA’s statement on their announcement seemed to imply that certain parts of the EU regulatory authorities approved of their view, but an EU Commission statement instead countered these comments.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.