The deal reaches a crucial checkpoint, but the mission isn't over.
Microsoft’s $69 billion purchase of game publisher Activision Blizzard is reportedly “likely” to be approved in Europe via the European Commission, but several significant hurdles still remain for the deal to go through.
Microsoft’s most recent licensing deals with Nvidia and Nintendo will most likely “satisfy” the European regulatory lawmakers, according to a report from The Verge, and the European Commission isn’t likely to demand that Microsoft sell off assets like Call of Duty to be approved. A decision is set to be officially made regarding EU approval by April 25.
Both deals with Nvidia and Nintendo were announced toward the end of February. The deal between Nvidia and Microsoft is a 10-year partnership that will put Xbox PC games on the Nvidia GeForce NOW cloud gaming service, which would enable users to stream those titles to various devices using GeForce NOW. Microsoft also announced a 10-year partnership with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty and other titles to Nintendo devices.
But likely approval in EU does not guarantee that the deal will go through in its current state since the purchase has to be approved in both the U.S. and U.K., where it is facing significantly more scrutiny. In the U.S., the FTC has sued to block the deal from happening, and the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) claims that the deal would reduce competition and harm gamers.
Even Microsoft’s recent Nintendo deal hasn’t impressed the U.K. regulatory body, who yesterday said in a report that the current Switch would not be able to properly run Call of Duty. Last month, it was the CMA who suggested partial divestiture of Activision Blizzard, which could involve Call of Duty getting removed from the acquisition.