In an unexpected turn of events, just as Microsoft was announcing the purchase on the London Underground and the people in charge of research were claiming to have overcome the problems with Call of Duty, the British government has just blocked the acquisition of Activision Blizzard by the Xbox family. The reason? Cloud gaming.
“The final decision to prevent the deal comes after Microsoft’s proposed solution failed to effectively address the concerns in the cloud gaming sector, outlined in the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA, the organization that regulates the UK market and monitors the practice of competitive activities) provisional findings published in February,” the government’s website reads.
According to the CMA, Microsoft owns 60-70% of cloud gaming services thanks to the way it has been able to leverage all fronts of the company (the gaming division, Xbox, the hegemony of its operating system, Windows, and the Azure infrastructure). “The deal would reinforce Microsoft’s advantage in the market by giving it control over important gaming content such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft. Allowing Microsoft to take such a strong position in the cloud gaming market just as it begins to grow rapidly (the number of active users will triple between 2021 and 2022) would risk undermining the innovation that is crucial to the development of these opportunities.
The news puts Microsoft on the ropes and now the company fears the worst with a view to May 22, the date on which the resolution of the European Union is expected, another of the necessary supports to move forward with the acquisition.
We are beginning to reach the end of a soap opera that has brought out the colors of both Microsoft and Sony in recent months: