portal Pure Xbox drew attention to the fact that Microsoft’s deal to acquire publisher Activision Blizzard for a record $68.7 billion for the industry has been approved by another country’s regulator.
The Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) concluded that the deal would not significantly affect competition in the country and recommended that the Competition Court approve the acquisition unreservedly.
A key concern for CCSA in evaluating the merger was the risk that by taking control of Call of Duty, Microsoft could confine the franchise to its own consoles or give competitors unfavorable distribution terms.
During the investigation, the commission ruled that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard have neither the ability nor the incentive to deny other platform owners – notably Sony (PlayStation) and Nintendo (Switch) – access to Call of Duty.
Microsoft has repeatedly denied speculation that competitors could be denied access to Call of Duty, even forging 10-year deals with Nintendo, NVIDIA and other companies to convince regulators.
Sony also offered its guarantees to Microsoft, but the Japanese platform owner turned down a 10-year agreement on favorable terms because he “No new Call of Duty deal needed”.
In order to complete the acquisition, Microsoft needs to get the green light from regulators in different countries. Previously, the union had been approved in Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Brazil, Chile and Japan, and Britain appears to be leaning towards a positive verdict.