The UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) Wednesday announced the provisional findings of its investigation regarding Microsoft’s intended $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. The sale could increase Microsoft’s market share of cloud gaming, and Microsoft products already account for an estimated 60 to 70 percent of the global cloud gaming market.
The CMA concluded that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard “could result in higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation for UK gamers.” Specifically, the CMA found that Microsoft’s acquisition could suppress competition, “harm UK gamers who cannot afford expensive consoles” and weaken Microsoft’s and Sony’s rivalry. The regulator believes that this weakened rivalry could result in gamers experiencing “higher prices, reduced range, lower quality, and worse service in gaming consoles over time.”
CMA Non-Executive Director and Panel Chair Martin Coleman headed the independent panel of experts conducting the investigation. Coleman stated:
Our job is to make sure that UK gamers are not caught in the crossfire of global deals that, over time, could damage competition and result in higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation. We have provisionally found that this may be the case here.
In December 2022, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft regarding the intended acquisition.