The European Commission finally approved the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard after the Xbox maker agreed to take on regulatory concerns in the growing cloud streaming market for a period of 10 years.
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The company agreed that Microsoft would have no incentive to deny PlayStation games in Europe because there are four PlayStation systems for every Xbox system in the European Economic Area and the Call of Duty franchise is not as big in Europe as in other markets.
Nevertheless, the commission determined that the deal would harm competition in cloud-based gaming services and could further strengthen Microsoft’s position over Windows PC operating systems.
To address these issues, Microsoft has offered to provide consumers in Europe with a free streaming license for all current and future Activision Blizzard games for the PCs and consoles for which they have a license, and to stream them via the cloud streaming service of their choice.
The European Commission went through an extremely thorough, thoughtful process to gain a comprehensive understanding of gaming. As a result, they approved our merger with Microsoft, although they needed strict measures to ensure robust competition in our fast-growing industry.Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard
The deal still faces obstacles in the UK, where the Competition and Markets Authority has blocked it pending an appeal, and in the US, where the Federal Trade Commission has filed suit to stop the acquisition.