Microsoft's Acquisition of Call of Duty Creator Bolstered by US Judge's Decision

Welcome to our gaming blog, where we provide insightful content and updates on the latest gaming industry news. Stay informed about Microsoft's acquisition of Call of Duty creator, Activision Blizzard, and the recent favorable ruling by a US judge. Discover how this groundbreaking deal, valued at $69 billion (£56 billion), is set to shape the gaming landscape. Explore the potential impact on gamers and competition, as well as the ongoing appeals process in the UK. Gain valuable insights into the cloud gaming market and the significance of popular titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch. Join us as we delve into the details of this high-stakes merger and its implications for the gaming community.

Microsoft's Acquisition of Call of Duty Creator Bolstered by US Judge's Decision

The possibility of Microsoft acquiring leading game publisher Activision Blizzard has received a significant boost as a US judge dismissed a request from US regulators to block the deal. This victory for Microsoft in the US strengthens its position for the merger with the owner of Call of Duty, marking the largest deal in gaming industry history.

Following the favorable ruling in the US, Microsoft has expressed its commitment to addressing concerns in the UK. Activision's shares surged by over 10% as investors predicted the deal's success.

US regulators had contended that the $69 billion (£56 billion) deal, proposed last year, would negatively impact gamers and stifle competition by granting Microsoft, known for its Xbox console, the ability to restrict access to Activision's games for rivals.

Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley, in her decision following a week-long hearing in San Francisco, expressed doubt about the regulator's likelihood of success. She stated, "The FTC has not shown it is likely to succeed on its assertion the combined firm will probably pull Call of Duty from Sony PlayStation, or that its ownership of Activision content will substantially lessen competition in the video game library subscription and cloud gaming markets."

This ruling in the US serves as a strong indicator that Microsoft's acquisition will ultimately proceed. The European Union has already approved the deal, while a challenge to block the merger in the UK is currently being appealed.

Microsoft President Brad Smith expressed gratitude for the swift decision and emphasized the company's focus on addressing concerns in the UK. Both Microsoft and the UK's Competition and Markets Authority have agreed to halt litigation while they explore solutions to address the concerns, particularly related to the cloud gaming market.

Activision Blizzard is renowned for its flagship titles, including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch, and also owns King, the mobile game developer responsible for Candy Crush.

The fate of the Call of Duty franchise played a crucial role in the regulators' arguments. PlayStation's Jim Ryan, supporting the regulators, stated in a video deposition that Microsoft would likely restrict access to the series for PlayStation users or offer them an inferior version. However, Microsoft countered by offering a 10-year licensing agreement to Sony and asserted that it would be financially illogical to limit access to such a massive following.

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, expressed confidence in the merger's benefits for consumers and workers. He said, "Our merger will benefit consumers and workers. It will enable competition rather than allow entrenched market leaders to continue to dominate our rapidly growing industry."

While the US decision is a significant milestone, the process is not necessarily concluded. The FTC has the option to appeal the ruling and has initiated a separate challenge to the merger through an administrative court. FTC spokesperson Douglas Farrar stated, "We are disappointed in this outcome given the clear threat this merger poses to open competition in cloud gaming, subscription services, and consoles. In the coming days, we'll be announcing our next step to continue our fight to preserve competition and protect consumers."

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