The CMA’s decision regarding Activision Blizzard is justified | column

The CMA's decision regarding Activision Blizzard is justified |  column

With the aim of the future in the cloud

written by Jari Klapwijk op

For a moment, all the fuss surrounding Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard seemed to be over. This illusion ended this week: the British watchdog CMA wants to put an end to the takeover once and for all. Looking at the future in the cloud, this isn’t a bad idea at all.

Microsoft announced a massive $68.7 billion acquisition in January in the last year. Publisher of some of the gaming industry’s biggest franchises, including Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Diablo, Overwatch, Warcraft, Spyro, and Crash Bandicoot, the Xbox maker could be taking over for a while. After all, the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, among other things, also went smoothly.

It soon became apparent that the acquisition was not as easy as Microsoft had hoped. Several watchdogs, including the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the European Commission (EC) and Britain’s Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA), are digging in and seem not intending to close the deal without a fight. He depends.

The first warning came in December last year. the The FTC is filing a lawsuit To prevent a takeover, or at least to force concessions in court. The commission believes the deal will allow Microsoft to stifle competition in consoles, its burgeoning subscription service and cloud services. Players will be victims of this.

The FTC still explicitly defines the console market, unlike the EC and CMA. The latter in particular is increasingly focused on the cloud gaming market. This will become evident when the UK watchdog announces its preliminary end in February this year. People are not worried about the console market, but more concerned about the cloud. Therefore, it calls on Microsoft to make concessions to remove these concerns. Microsoft does this in the form of a slew of ten-year contracts with a variety of streaming services, including Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Ubitus, and British mobile and internet service provider EE.

However, the 10-year deals are not enough to dispel the doubts. CMA believes that Microsoft already has a strong foothold in the cloud and believes that the company is likely to make Activision games exclusive to its cloud gaming service in the future. According to the watchdog, a bigger Microsoft would undermine innovation in the growing branch. the So the CMA wants to block the takeover.

Monitoring 2

The decision raises a lot of questions for many. Because is the cloud gaming market really relevant? No, not yet at the moment. That will certainly change in the future, I dare say with near certainty. It’s hard to imagine right now, but like the movie and music industry, I suspect the gaming industry is moving in this direction as well.

Soon, we will no longer need a console or PC to play our favorite games. Microsoft is preparing for this. With their massive cloud infrastructure, they have the ability to fully focus on that future. Unlike the console market, the danger of monopoly lurks there. It’s no secret that Microsoft is one of the most important players in the cloud market. Even rival Sony uses the company’s Azure technology, This was announced in 2019. Cloud gaming may be a distant proposition now, but that may be different in about ten years. For example, XCloud really works quite smoothly and you can also play good games via Netflix. Ten years ago, Netflix started streaming content in the Netherlands and this is how we consume movies and series. All this happened very quickly.

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This vision of the future also makes the ten-year deals Microsoft has been receiving lately downright hypocritical. Within those 10 years, consoles and PCs are still going to be very important. In those years, the focus wasn’t entirely on the cloud. However, the chance that this will change within ten years is reasonable. Exclusivity gets really interesting for Microsoft when all of these deals expire. If you as a company are the only ones with games like Call of Duty, Overwatch, and mobile giant Candy Crush at your disposal, complete domination can result.

This is not a good idea in any industry. Therefore, the decision of the Capital Market Authority is justified. Once cloud gaming takes over the world, gamers will probably be glad that there isn’t just one party calling the shots. In this way, the industry we love so much remains healthy and competitive, and we have nothing less to do with ridiculous price increases and other nonsense that a dominant market leader would not deny.

Although we are now very far ahead of things, the CMA’s decision does not mean that the takeover will never happen. In any case, it ensures that Microsoft has to make more concessions in the plea to prove that they have no malicious intent on the competition. If they continue to push the deal this way, it will at least pose less of a threat to the competition. This is more important than playing Call of Duty and Diablo 4 on Game Pass!

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