The $69 billion Xbox Activision deal buyout has reportedly been approved by China's regulatory body.
According to DealReporter (via SeekingAlpha), China's State Administration for Market Regulation recently gave the deal its unconditional approval in a late-phase review, handing Microsoft and Activision another win on their volatile and uncertain path to closing the acquisition.
The deal faced another significant setback last month when UK regulators formally moved to block, but soon after regained some momentum when it was approved by the European Union. Arguably its most significant hurdle will come later this year when the US Federal Trade Commission is set to begin hearings on its lawsuit seeking to stop the buyout due to anti-competition concerns.
In the broad scheme of things, China's approval is significant but not necessarily a game-changer in the trajectory of the acquisition. Whereas China is reportedly requiring zero conditions for its approval – a stance that is perhaps a consequence of the unique shape the games industry takes within the country – other global regulators have signaled intentions to have Microsoft commit to certain agreements that would appease anti-competitive concerns.
For example, the EU's approval made it clear that it was "conditional on full compliance" with Microsoft's various commitments to its cloud gaming competitors, while the FTC is already concerned with Xbox's "next-generation gaming ecosystem." Meanwhile, Microsoft may need to make even more concessions to appease anti-competition concerns in the cloud gaming space if it wants to win back the UK as it moves to appeal the regulators' decision.
Whether or not the purchase goes through, here are the best Xbox Series X games you can play right now.