Activision Blizzard purchase gets the green light in South Africa

Microsoft is locked in an ongoing battle with Sony which is trying to block the acquisition by every means.

Microsoft's merger with Activision Blizzard moves closer to reality.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard takes another step towards completion after the Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) has given its go-ahead for the deal. With this development, South Africa becomes the sixth country to approve Microsoft’s acquisition after Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Brazil, Chile, and Japan, which approved the deal last month.

The commission announced its decision in a media statement that was released on Monday, April 17. In the release, the CCSA acknowledged Sony’s primary concern for opposing the merger, which is the fear that Microsoft will make Call of Duty exclusive to its platforms and exclude the PlayStation. However, the commission found these fears unfounded.

According to the release, "the proposed transaction is unlikely to result in significant foreclosure concerns as the parties do not have the ability and incentive to foreclose competing game distributors, particularly Sony (Playstation) and Nintendo (Switch)." Furthermore, the CCSA pointed out Microsoft and Activision Blizzard’s undertakings that will ensure the franchise is available on other console platforms for several years as more proof that the acquisition is not harmful to competition.

While the CCSA’s approval is a win for Microsoft in its quest to acquire one of the biggest game publishers in the world, it is a small one. The tech behemoth is still awaiting the decision of the US’s Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, and the UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority. Without these entities, which represent some of the largest markets in the world, giving their approval, the merger will likely fall through.

Sony's primary opposition to the deal allegedly centers on the Call of Duty franchise.

Since Microsoft announced its plans to acquire the game publisher, rival console manufacturer Sony has raised a ruckus and done all within its power to stop it. Sony’s primary concern was that Microsoft will make the Call of Duty franchise, Activision Blizzard’s biggest IP and one of the best-selling video game franchises ever, exclusive to its Xbox platform. However, Microsoft has since denied the claim stating that there is no financial incentive to make the franchise exclusive. The company offered Sony a deal that will see it distribute the title to the PlayStation console for 10 years.

However, this overture didn’t appease Sony which claimed that Microsoft will only release broken versions of the title for the PlayStation. Despite Sony’s continued resistance, Microsoft’s proposed merger seems to be gaining ground. Prior to South Africa’s approval, six UK studios registered their support for Microsoft’s acquisition when the CMA sought their opinion.

By the way, Microsoft is getting support for its acquisition from unlikely quarters. Earlier this month, a US Senator accused Sony of "exclusionary practices" and asked that the company provide unredacted copies of its exclusive distribution rights agreements with third-party developers, among other things.

Related Topics


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tobi Oguntola

Tobi Oguntola // Articles: 664

Tobi is an avid reader with interest in everything entertainment. He also loves the big screen as it fuels his overactive imagination. When he is not reading a fantasy, sci-fi, or thriller novel, he is listening to music, watching TV, or surfing the internet. Tobi is on Steam as tobioguntola.
Comparison List (0)