Microsoft’s move to acquire Activision was approved Monday by the European Commission, confirming a report on the deal first published last week.
The European Commission confirmed it would conditionally allow Microsoft to go through with its intended purchase of Activision on the basis that the Redmond-based tech giant honors a set of commitments.
As stated in the report, the 10-year commitments include providing “a free license to consumers in the EEA that would allow them to stream, via any cloud game streaming services of their choice, all current and future Activision Blizzard PC and console games for which they have a license” and “a corresponding free license to cloud game streaming service providers to allow EEA-based gamers to stream any Activision Blizzard’s PC and console games.”
The idea behind the stipulations is that going forward, Microsoft cannot have a monopoly on where Activision games (such as the popular “Call of Duty” franchise) are streamed.
The agreement that the European Commission, Microsoft and Activision have found appears to be in line with the sort of middle ground that will need to be reached for the Windows maker to effectively appeal the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decision wherein the acquisition was blocked on the grounds that Microsoft would gain too much of a cloud edge from the purchase for others to remain competitive.
The reason why Microsoft is working as diligently as it is to secure Activision is to gain control of mega franchises including “Call of Duty,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch” and “Candy Crush,” titles that effectively cover the entire gaming market and the demographics of consumers therein. Activision’s existing portfolio includes numerous high-profile console, PC and mobile games, making it a valuable asset for any company, especially one such as Microsoft that’s struggled to pump out commercial and critical hits on its own.