Xbox Activision deal looks even more likely to close after UK watchdog grants early approval

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

A UK watchdog has completed phase one of reviewing Microsoft's modified proposal to acquire Activision Blizzard, and it's looking good for those who wish to see the deal sealed.

In a press release, UK regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) explains that "the sale of Activision's cloud gaming rights to Ubisoft substantially addresses previous concerns and opens the door to the deal being cleared." 

The CMA goes on to say that, while residual concerns with the new deal have been identified, Microsoft has put forward remedies that it has provisionally concludes should address these issues. At the time of writing, the CMA is consulting further on said remedies before making a final decision.  

"This is a new and substantially different deal, which keeps the cloud distribution of these important games in the hands of a strong independent supplier, Ubisoft, rather than under the control of Microsoft," says senior director of mergers and Phase 1 decision maker Colin Raftery. 

"With additional protections to make sure that the deal is properly implemented, this will maintain the structure of the market, enabling open competition to continue to shape the development of cloud gaming in the years to come, and giving UK gamers the opportunity to access Activision's games in many different ways, including through cloud-based multigame subscription services."

In a statement issued to GamesRadar+, Microsoft vice chair and president Brad Smith adds: "We are encouraged by this positive development in the CMA's review process. We presented solutions that we believe fully address the CMA's remaining concerns related to cloud game streaming, and we will continue to work toward earning approval to close prior to the October 18 deadline."

Feeling lost? Get caught up with our Xbox Activision deal explainer.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.