Microsoft Activision deal: New Zealand greenlights the acquisition

August 8, 2023

Microsoft Activision deal just hit the green light in New Zealand. The country’s Commerce Commission (CC) said in a statement that it was satisfied that the merger was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any New Zealand market.

The Commission said that it had considered the importance of Activision games to New Zealand gamers, and whether Microsoft would be likely to stop rivals like Sony and NVIDIA from offering those games on consoles and cloud platforms.

“With today’s approval from New Zealand, we’re cleared to move forward with our acquisition of Activision Blizzard in 41 countries. We will continue to work to resolve outstanding concerns and bring this deal to a close,” says Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, on Twitter.

There have been concerns about whether Microsoft will do it, but the Redmond-based tech giant has inked a few lucrative binding deals for 10 years with a lot of “rival” console makers, including Nintendo Switch and Nvidia for its GeForce NOW cloud gaming service. 

“While Activision games, in particular Call of Duty, are popular with New Zealand gamers, our enquiries did not find that they are likely to be ‘must have’ in order to compete with Microsoft in New Zealand,” says Commission’s chairman John Small.

Microsoft’s rival in the gaming industry, Sony, argued that the acquisition would mean that Microsoft could perform an unhealthy monopoly in the sector. Though, back in June this year, the bitter battle ended with Sony agreeing to a 10-year deal with Microsoft to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation consoles.

In other news, Call of Duty’s latest entry in the rebooted Modern Warfare series, Modern Warfare III, has just got a release date on November 10 this year.

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