Microsoft’s Activision deal set for EU approval without selling Call of Duty
The rigmarole over Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Activision Blizzard could soon end with the European Union giving the deal its blessing.
A Reuters report claims the European Commission has been satisfied by Microsoft’s offer to license top games like Call of Duty to rival hardware makers after the deal goes through.
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Microsoft has already signed ten-year licensing agreements with Nintendo and Nvidia to make the call of Duty franchise available on the Switch and its successors and the Nvidia GeForce Now service.
The Xbox-maker has offered the same terms to Sony, and somewhat bizarrely bragged about bringing a contract and pen to a recent event for the PlayStation rival to sign.
That’s going to be enough to quell the EU’s objections, according to the report. There had been suggestions from the UK Competition and Markets Authority in the UK that Microsoft would be asked to sell off the Call of Duty franchise to earn the government’s approval. However, Microsoft has dismissed that notion.
Microsoft president Brad Smith has previously said it was not “feasible or realistic to think that one game or one slice of this company can be carved out and separated from the rest” and that he doesn’t “see a viable path to sell the Activision studio for the quality of the game to someone else.”
According to Reuters sources today: “The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by April 25, is not expected to demand that Microsoft sell assets to win its approval”
A Microsoft spokesperson added: “Our commitment to grant long term 100% equal access to Call of Duty to Sony, Steam, NVIDIA and others preserves the deal’s benefits to gamers and developers and increases competition in the market.”
If the EU gives the green light, Microsoft may still have to persuade regulators in the US and UK to agree, but this would be a major step towards getting the $69 billion deal over the line. Finally.