E.U. Approves Microsoft’s $69 Billion Deal for Activision

Opposition to the acquisition has centered in part on so-called cloud gaming, a relatively new technology that lets people stream games on phones, tablets and other devices, potentially eliminating the need for hardware like consoles. American and British regulators said Microsoft’s purchase of Activision would undercut this still-developing sector of the gaming industry before it had a chance to bloom. The European Commission, the executive body for the 27-nation bloc, gave its approval after Microsoft agreed to guarantee for 10 years that gamers would be able to play Activision titles on cloud gaming services being developed by other companies, such as Nvidia.

After negotiating the concessions with Microsoft, European Union officials said they concluded that the deal could go through, particularly because the cloud gaming market was still so small. Many Activision titles that are not currently playable on smaller cloud gaming services would now be available, providing a consumer boost for the new technology, the regulators said.

“These commitments fully address the competition concerns identified by the commission and represent a significant improvement for cloud game streaming compared to the current situation,” the E.U. regulator said in a statement.

Microsoft said the concessions would benefit consumers.

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

The European Commission said the deal would not harm the console market because Microsoft would not have an incentive to deny rivals, such as the Sony PlayStation, access to Activision titles without sacrificing profit. In the European Union, PlayStation has a much larger market share than Xbox.

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