Yesterday, Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) agreed to stay litigation with Microsoft and Activision to continue negotiations after a US court refused to ban the deal. But at the same time CMA with “Cautious about the idea of a quick fix” and argues that Microsoft’s offerings may “lead to a new fusion investigation.”
CMA media spokesman Billy Proudlock warned that talks with Microsoft are in the early stages: “Microsoft and Activision have indicated they are considering amending the deal and the CMA stands ready to work with them on that basis.” These discussions are still at an early stage and the nature and timing of next steps will be determined in due course.”
The CMA clarifies that Microsoft does not have access to additional behavioral remedies. The regulator initially preferred a structured solution but eventually blocked the deal due to competition issues in the cloud gaming space. Microsoft and CMA have reportedly agreed to this “Small Sale” to fix the situation with cloud gaming services. Most likely the fix will be UK specific and possibly related to Microsoft’s Xbox cloud gaming services in the region.
EU regulators also had complaints about the cloud gaming situation, but approved the deal earlier this year thanks to the 10-year licensing deals Microsoft was offering to competitors. The EU has created an important remedy that includes a free license for consumers in EU countries, allowing them to stream via “any cloud game streaming service of your choice” all current and future Activision Blizzard games for PC and consoles for which they are licensed. Cloud providers are also offered a free license to stream these games.
As previously reported, Microsoft is exploring ways to complete the deal despite the UK’s decision.