The UK CMA has today published a new report on its ongoing investigation into Xbox's ActiBlizz deal, and there's a lot to unpack here in regards to the likelihood of the purchase actually going through. While there are plenty of wrinkles to this report, much of the focus is once again centred around Call of Duty.
The authority believes that if the deal goes ahead, it could harm competition surrounding both cloud gaming and traditional gaming markets. The CMA then goes on to put forward a few suggestions for how the deal could be altered to help it gain regulatory approval. Here are some potential "structural remedies":
- Separating and selling off the 'Call of Duty' part of the business
- Separating the 'Activision' and 'Blizzard' segments and potentially selling one or both parts off.
As mentioned, the CMA refers to such suggestions as 'structural remedies', like selling off CoD or other parts of the ActiBlizz business. However, the authority says that 'behavioural remedies' could also work, like making certain games & IP multiplatform in future even if they're under Microsoft ownership.
Of course, we also know that Xbox has put forward a 10-year commitment to keeping Call of Duty on other platforms, and the CMA says that such commitments will be looked at during the next 'remedies' phase, rather than this initial assessment.
So for now, any CMA suggestions are just that, and Microsoft has time to respond to these findings with its own ways of helping the deal go through. Given how major Call of Duty is to the overall Activision Blizzard business, we're not entirely sure how splitting that off and selling it would work out.
Other sections of this latest CMA report also state that the deal could harm the gaming market by reducing competition between Xbox and PlayStation. We have more on that element of the report down below.