The acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft has now been approved unconditionally by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC). The approval from KFTC, which notes that there are no significant concerns for game developers in Korea, puts pressure on the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the US’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to approve the deal. The UK’s CMA, which has faced criticism for focusing solely on cloud gaming, is now facing mounting pressure to complete hearings or switch their position to approval. This comes as the global authorities have lined up to back the deal, with the CMA’s position being viewed by some as potentially damaging to the UK video games industry.
According to the filing (via VGC), the popularity for Blizzard’s major games in Korea is not as high as in other parts of the world, and alternative game developers exist. Therefore, there is no chance of foreclosure to exclude competing game service companies.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which was announced last year, has caused notable controversy, with major roadblocks coming from regulatory bodies such as the CMA and the FTC. Despite these hurdles, authorities from across the world have stated support for the deal, further placing pressure on the UK and American bodies to make a decision. The approval from KFTC follows this trend.
CMA’s risks ‘depicting Britain as being closed for business’
The CMA now risks depicting the country as being closed for business, which could have adverse effects on the UK video games industry. Moreover, the UK video games industry has only recently seen a new framework laid out for research to support the sector and government. With another approval from another regulator, the CMA is expected to feel mounting pressure in the near future.
The approval of the deal by another regulatory body is seen as further pressure on the CMA and FTC.