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It’s an Important Week for the Activision Deal

It has been over a year since Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision. And it’s been a long year. Well, this week may well be the beginning of the end.


Here’s where we are now. The FTC in America has opposed the deal, in a move that shocked analysts and fans. In an effort to reel-in Big Tech, the body created its own “high-end” gaming market that excluded PC and inadvertently turned the Nintendo Switch into a monopoly of its own. Expert opinion is that this is a stalling tactic and that the case would fall apart in moments if it was taken to court. Which is will be if everything else goes Microsoft’s way. Xbox has already said it will move to close the deal if it gets accepted everywhere else. That would force the FTC to go to court or accept the deal. Either way, it could end up looking very weak.

Last week, Microsoft received a list of concerns from the European Commission. This statement of objections is (hopefully) a well-researched and reasoned list of reasons why Xbox buying Activision could cause problems for competition now and in the future. Although we don’t know what’s on that list, Microsoft said it was “confident” it would be able to address the issues. But what else were they going to say? Fans are holding out hope that bits of this leak over the coming days. If not, it stays confidential.

More importantly, the UK’s CMA is expected to give its initial verdict this week. This has been the big unknown throughout this deal – the CMA could do anything, and there’s little recourse for Microsoft if they shut things down. On the other hand, any other verdict will be seen as a postive of some kind.

The Beginning of the End – Activision and Microsoft

There’s little indication of which way this might go. Around 75 per cent of the comments on the deal were positive. But that doesn’t necessarily alter the final decision. And that final decision is locked in. It’ll be a long week for Microsoft executives.

Whatever happens, this is definitely the beginning of the end and not the end itself. There are still many more months left of this drama. Microsoft is still sure it’ll close the deal this half of the year.

The $69b deal is the biggest Microsoft would have ever done. Although a lot of debate has been around Call of Duty, the deal would also include fan favourites like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Warcraft, Starcraft and dozens of others. And that’s not to mention the behemoth that is Candy Crush.

Xbox obviously intends to put all of its newly purchased IP into Game Pass if the deal closes, which would be an awesome addition to the service. But it’d also give them  a treasure trove of IP to work on, and fantastic studios to create them. Microsoft says it’ll also help them take tenetive steps into creating their own mobile store, breaking up the duopoly of Apple and Google.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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