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EU Approves Microsoft Activision Acquisition

The European Union has approved Microsoft’s proposed $69 billion deal to acquire Activision Blizzard, which is behind some of the biggest console and PC games in the world. 

The American tech giant agreed to a 10-year-long commitment that would allow European users to stream and play Activision games such as “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” on any of its cloud gaming services. Despite Microsoft significantly trailing behind competitors with their Xbox console, the company is shifting its focus to cloud gaming services to put them back on the map.  

"The European Commission has required Microsoft to license popular Activision Blizzard games automatically to competing cloud gaming services. This will apply globally and will empower millions of consumers worldwide to play these games on any device they choose," said Microsoft President Brad Smith to Reuters.

As a result of this deal, Microsoft is now the third largest gaming publisher in the world after the Chinese company, Tencent, and the Japanese conglomerate, Sony. 

The deal was previously challenged and blocked by both the US and the UK earlier this year due to concerns surrounding the competitive cloud game streaming market and the consolidation of services. The countries believe this acquisition will result in a reduction of competition in the console and gaming market, undeniably affecting future creation. The concerns surrounding distortion of the competition were addressed by the European Commission, calling the move “pro-competitive”. The commission also found that this deal would not affect the competitive console market because of Sony’s domination with PlayStation. 

Margaret Vestager, the EU antitrust chief, told Reuters that by these licenses are “effective” and “practical” in the long run. 

"Actually they significantly improve the condition for cloud game streaming compared to the present situation, which is why we actually consider them pro-competitive," Vestager told Reuters.

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